Michigan Local 475 Scores Labor-Management Award

Grand Rapids, MI Local 475 members and their employer, Anderson Global, were honored recently with the Harold Workman Labor-Management Cooperation Award, presented at the Muskegon Area Labor-Management Committee (MALMAC) annual tribute to labor. Pete Jazdzyk, IAM District 60 Assistant Directing Business Representative and the servicing rep for Local 475 members at Anderson, nominated them.

“I nominated the company and the union for the way they have changed their relationship and in the process, both have maintained and grown local jobs,” Jazdzyk told the Muskegon Chronicle.

Tool and die maker Anderson Global was nearly written off about a decade ago. Adverse contract negotiations became customary, with the workers locked out at one point. The situation deteriorated in 2000, when, facing closure, the company notified all workers of a layoff. In a last-ditch effort to rescue the company, workers and management brokered a modified agreement.

It is those Local 475 members who suffered through the hard times and helped the company not only survive, but also thrive. Earlier this year, Anderson Global announced a $3.9 million expansion. All laid-off members from the lean years have been recalled, more jobs have been created, and the company continues to grow.

“The good news is that this company [and] union, through cooperative efforts, survived and is jointly earning a good living, improving their benefits and adding jobs to the community,” Jazdzyk affirmed to the Chronicle. Local 475 and Anderson signed their most recent contract July 1, 2011. The agreement includes wage increases and restores holiday and vacation pay that were conceded earlier.

“This is in fact a tribute to the quality of the people in the union and the company,” Jazdzyk said.

Harold Workman, for whom the award is named, was a Muskegon community leader and retired human resources director from Campbell, Wyant & Cannon and Dresser Industries. His passion for improving labor-management relations led to his becoming a founding member of MALMAC.