Members of UE Local 770 ratified a new five-year agreement with Hendrickson International in January. The new contract reduces the years of service required to reach top pay from ten to three. Top pay will increase by an average (among classifications) of 10.3 percent over the life of the contract, while starting pay will increase by an average of 12.5 percent.
UE members won a number of benefit improvements, including an improved vacation package, a better vision program, and an increased tool and boot allowance. Life insurance and accident/sickness benefits will increase every other year. UE members now have greater options in terms of how they collect their vested pension payments.
Despite modest increases in health care premiums and deductibles, those costs will be locked in for the life of the contract. The company will now offer a flexible spending account to bargaining unit members.
The temporary transfer provisions of the contract are now more favorable to membership, and the company agreed to offer an expanded co-op and internship program. The Maintenance Skill Development program will be expanded, resulting in greater pay and educational opportunities for members in the maintenance classification and those seeking to enter the classification.
Workers will now have automatic union representation — without the need to request a representative — and the union now has guaranteed meeting time to prepare for future negotiations.
Finally, discipline will be removed from an employee’s personnel file after 18 months and meeting certain requirements, and bargaining unit members will rotate jobs to allow for more equal work and greater training opportunities.
The Local 770 negotiating committee consisted of President Drake Randall, Secretary-Treasurer Justin Mikel, Chief Steward Dan Welling, executive board members Matt Barrett and Andy Moore, and steward Tom DeGrot. . They were assisted by Field Organizer Tony Schroth and International Representative John Thompson.