IAM Members Ratify New Accord, End Strike at Monofrax

Burn barrels were an essential part of the five-month strike by members of Local 2105 in Falconer, NY, where temperatures on the picket line regularly dropped below zero.

Members of Local 2105 in Falconer, NY this week voted to ratify a five-year agreement with Monofrax, a company that makes fusion cast refractories used in the glass industry. The vote ends a five-month strike over healthcare costs that will also be remembered for broad community support and a picket line that remained solid despite sub-zero temperatures.

The IAM members will return to work next week after holding off an all-out assault on healthcare benefits that would have shifted significant costs to workers while providing far less coverage. The scheme would have forced workers to pay $4,500 a year more for coverage. Negotiators were able to contain the cost of the insurance to below pre-strike levels, spreading the increase in premiums over a five-year period instead of three. More importantly, IAM members gained language that ensures that the healthcare plans and rates must remain comparable year-to-year, effectively guaranteeing healthcare coverage whereas no such guarantee existed in the offer prompting the strike.

“Our members realized that strike action was necessary, and they stood strong and unified in their fight against shameless corporate greed,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “Coupled with support from the labor community, and through international pressure, they were able to significantly lessen the massive financial burden that the company was attempting to shift to the workers. Thanks go out to IAM Chief of Staff to the International President and Trade and Globalization Director Owen Herrnstadt for his help within the international labor community, as well as IAM District 65 Directing Business Representative Jim Johnston for his careful guidance and leadership.”

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