Members of IAM Local 153 recently triumphed after a more than eight-month fight for a fair and just contract at Crescent Plastics in Evansville, IN.
The more than 40 maintenance and fabricators fought off the company’s effort to impose what it claimed was its “last, best and final” offer in November 2013. The offer included draconian cuts to employee wages and overtime pay. It sought to eliminate the IAM National Pension Fund; health, dental and vision insurance; check-off and the union security clause. It also attempted to decrease union representation for grievance handling.
IAM members decided not to vote on such an egregious proposal that the company tried to force on them, and instead filed charges against Crescent for failure to bargain in good faith.
“The company wasn’t interested in negotiating,” said IAM District 90 Business Representative Gerald Stone. “The company simply wanted to completely strip our members of rights they earned and were entitled to.”
With assistance from the IAM’s Legal Department, Strategic Resources Department and the Midwest Territory, Stone was able to make a strong case showing that the company failed to engage in real negotiations.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) later ruled there was merit to the IAM’s charges and ordered Crescent Plastics to sign a make-whole agreement in order to undo the unilateral changes the company made to the collective bargaining agreement. Crescent initially refused to comply, but in less than two weeks the Machinists once again came out on top.
The IAM succeeded in negotiating an offer the members could vote on. The new proposal restored wage, overtime and pension cuts – with back pay and retroactive contributions. It provided for union representation in grievance handling, and retained both check-off and the union security clause so everyone pays their fair share. It also provided for a $1,000 stipend for health care benefits.
Local 153 members overwhelmingly approved the proposal. Their ability to stand strong and united in forcing the company to obey the law and bargain fairly was critical.
“Thank you to the Local 153 Negotiating Committee, District 90 Directing Business Representative Tim Hough, the Midwest Territory, and the IAM Legal and Strategic Resources Departments for their assistance through this tough process,” said Stone. “With their help, Local 153 members fought back and won against a company’s bloodthirsty attempt to take away practically everything our members have. This was a huge win for the IAM.”
“Congratulations to the members of IAM Local 153 on their hard-fought win,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “This contract shows the benefits of collective bargaining and having an experienced union in your corner. The entire Negotiating Committee worked hard, stayed on target for these negotiations and the proof is in the results.”