Local 155 Contract with Tinius Olsen Gives Workers Greater Control Over Their Time

February 22, 2024

The new contract between amalgamated UE Local 155 and materials testing machine company Tinius Olsen includes several measures that give workers greater control over their time.

Vacation time was greatly improved by eliminating the old system of attendance incentive days, personal days, and two holidays, and turning them all into vacation days. The union won more vacation flexibility by getting workers the right to use some vacation in one-hour increments, and reduced the notice time workers are required to give for vacation of three days or more. UE members also won greater rights to carry over vacation days, and the company agreed to look into a digital system to allow workers to check their accumulated time.

The contract also adds a later shift so that members with kids or who otherwise want a later start time can choose to work from 9am to 5:30pm instead of 7am to 3:30pm, and makes the bereavement leave more flexible.

“I’m proud of the flexibility we created,” said shop committee member Daniel Quinones. “Tinius Olsen was very tight and it was about time they loosen up with such unnecessary rules.”

The union also won the inclusion of storeroom clerks under the contract, agreeing to voluntarily recognize them as part of the union after they all signed UE membership cards. When one of the clerks came to bargaining to speak about why they deserved better pay, the management committee looked uncomfortable and told the union committee it was “highly unusual.” While the union did not win the raises they felt the clerks deserved, they will receive the same raises as the rest of the unit.

Local 155 members discussing the tentative agreement at the ratification meeting.

The contract provides every member with a $450 signing bonus, and raises of four, three and three percent over the three-year agreement — a significant improvement over the previous contract. The union won increased company contributions toward health insurance and fought off the company's demand for more subcontracting rights. They also won increased longevity pay, improved trainee and apprentice pay, new protections against temporary transfers, and increased notice time in case of layoffs.

The union settled a grievance during negotiations, winning an additional vacation day for the harmed worker.

The bargaining committee kept members informed throughout the process with meetings in the shop to go over the proposals on both sides, and they texted and emailed the members copies of the proposals after each day of bargaining. They spent time on the phone with members talking through questions and concerns, and adjusted their proposals based on the members’ feedback.

“We did the best we could, and we landed with a pretty fair contract,” said shop committee member Michael Nice. “The reaction of the guys in the shop overall has been positive and uplifting. We caught every point we made hard, we spoke up about what we wanted, and we focused on improving our working environment through flexibility and increased pay.”

The union negotiating committee consisted of Chief Steward Dan Vargo and shop committee members Jack Boyle, Michael Nice, and Dan Quinones. They were assisted by International Representative Tara McCauley.


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