240 IAM Local 2191 members, who make brazed aluminum heat exchangers at Chart Energy and Chemical, last week overwhelmingly voted to ratify a five-year collective bargaining agreement at the La Crosse, WI plant.
The contract provides many improvements including much-needed relief for forced overtime, retaining and increasing the IAM pension, and maintaining retirement benefits.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our members for standing strong for what is right,” said IAM District 66 Directing Business Representative Neil Kamrowski. “Thanks to the assistance from the Midwest Territory and the departments at IAM Headquarters, our committee was able to get our members a contract that they can be proud of. It was truly a group effort all the way.”
Membership voted to enter negotiations early. While some gains were made in the initial sessions, the company pushed a last/best, final offer. Membership voted down their proposal and to go on strike, giving the negotiating committee the necessary time and power to renegotiate.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, negotiating team members from IAM Local 2191 completed a field negotiating prep program at District 66 headquarters prior to entering contract talks with Chart Energy and Chemical. The week-long class included training in constructing contract language, giving proposals, analyzing the company’s strength and weaknesses and identifying a broad array of potential tactics.
“The gains in this contract could not have been achieved without the solidarity exhibited from the members of Local 2191,” said Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “Your togetherness and patience during these unprecedented times allowed the negotiating committee time to go back to the table and achieve a great contract. I congratulate our members, the IAM Local 2191 Negotiating Committee, IAM District 66 Directing Business Representative Neil Kamrowski, and all the support staff from the Winpisinger Center, Legal, Strategic Resources and Communications Departments for their collective effort in bringing forth a successful negotiation.”