Sweet Deal: Alabama Local 114 Splenda-Makers Ratify New Contract

McIntosh, AL IAM Local 114 members at Tate & Lyle’s Splenda production facility have ratified a new four-year agreement that includes better wages and retirement contributions.

IAM Local 114 members who help produce the sugar substitute Splenda have ratified a new contract after their employer, British-based Tate & Lyle, shipped their jobs overseas, only to return production to Alabama two years later. The four-year deal inlcudes wage increases and improved retirement contributions.

Tate & Lyle shut down the McIntosh, AL facility and moved production to Singapore in 2009. After experiencing problems there, the company decided relocated back to McIntosh in 2011. Upon reopening, employees were no longer included in a pension plan, making a better retirement plan central to the workers’ wishes.

In addition to securing $2,400 bonuses for each of the first two years of the contract, which can be put into their 401(k) plan, the IAM Negotiating Committee also secured wage increases of nearly 3 percent for each year of the four-year agreement. Improvements to grievance procedures and better language on transfers into job vacancies were also negotiated.

“Many companies have walked away from defined benefit pension plans over the last several years. This membership had lost their pension,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin.  “Directing Business Representative Benji Sullivan and the members of Local Lodge 114 made the 401(k) issue a top priority, and through hard work and perseverance they made very good progress. The $4,800 company contribution to the 401(k) plan is in addition to an existing company match on the member contributions. It is time to make increasing company contributions/match on 401(k) plans a top issue, along with improving existing pensions, striving to negotiate the IAM Pension Plan where there is no pension, and making every effort to secure a good retirement for our membership and their families.”

Local 114 represents a bargaining unit of 71 chemical operators and maintenance personnel at the facility.