Local 155 Wins Highest Raise in a Half Century at Portescap

December 14, 2023

The Portescap members of amalgamated UE Local 155 ratified a contract with the Regal Rexnord-owned company on November 30. The workers won the highest wage increase they've seen in at least 50 years — a four percent increase for each year of the three-year contract.

After the company came in with an insulting initial proposal of 2.5 percent, workers organized to put pressure on the company, including a “black shirt” day. Almost everyone showed up to the plant in black — some wearing all black. In the following negotiation sessions, bargaining committee member Bill Long mapped out inflation the workers were facing, the current pay the members were at, and the record profits Regal Rexnord had made — showing management why a higher raise was necessary. “Through COVID, the members kept everything running,” said Chief Steward Sean Robinson. “...and management wasn't there. We kept everything going and made even more money for the company. The company was making record profits because we were making respiratory equipment on top of everything else. But because of inflation, we [the workers] took a hit. It was insulting, their first offer.”

The new contract also includes an additional paid sick day, something the workers have been steadily gaining with each contract. Members of the local were also able to negotiate a shorter probation period and the largest signing bonus in recent memory, $500 for all workers on the payroll. The assembly tech pay progression was also improved, eliminating an older system that prevented many of the techs from achieving higher labor grades. These workers, who make up most of the members in the shop, are now eligible for the highest pay grade.

The members also negotiated for the creation of a new trainer job that will be included in the bargaining unit, meeting the long-time need for more training while also adding more union jobs to the company. The new job will be at the higher labor grade, allowing the workers more options to bid on higher pay grade jobs.

Sean Robinson said, “I was thrilled. I'll be there nine years [soon] and have seen three contracts…We have people that have been there since 1975 and this is the highest they've seen.”

The Local 155 negotiating committee consisted of Chief Steward Sean Robinson and shop committee members Bill Long, Lauren Fabuien, and Steve Hughes. They were assisted by International Representative Tara McCauley.

A photo of three men and one woman
The UE Local 155 negotiating committee. Left to right: Bill Long, Lauren Fabuien, Steve Hughes, Sean Robinson.



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