Amidst the many challenges the current coronavirus pandemic has presented, IAM negotiators found a creative method to bargain and ratify a new contract with Crown Cork and Seal.
“With the outbreak of COVID-19 and all the travel restrictions that have taken place, we found it impossible to get together to have face-to-face negotiations,” said IAM Collective Bargaining Director Craig Norman. “We were able to use teleconferencing with the locals across the United States.”
Video conferences linked together Norman with company negotiators and each of the four IAM locations under the master agreement. IAM negotiators from Mankato, MN Local 924/District 77; Omaha, NE Local 31/District 6; Olympia, WA Local 695/District 160; and Lacrosse, WI Local 1115/District 66 were able to discuss details and reach a tentative agreement via internet connection.
“We had to set up in Olympia remotely, and it’s very different because you’re not sitting at the table. You don’t have the opportunity to really ‘read’ the table,” said IAM District 160 Business Representative Greg Heidal. “Luckily we had some great people there.”
Since COVID-19 gathering restrictions prevented the traditional method for members to vote on the tentative agreement, IAM representatives worked with the company so the vote could be conducted at work.
“We were able to go through the entirety of the contract. Explain to them all the benefits,” said IAM District 66 Directing Business Representative Neil Kamrowski. “Then they were able to vote in groups of six.”
IAM members employed at four Crown Cork and Seal locations manufacture metal food and beverage containers.