Tennessee Strike Concludes with Improved Contract

A strong presence on the picket line by members of Local 1441 in Springfield, TN, led to an improved contract and the successful conclusion of a five-day strike.

More than 150 members of Local 1441 in Springfield, TN, returned to work at Unarco Material Handling with an improved contract after a five-day strike.

“It was a short strike that sent a strong message,” said District 711 Business Representative Mike Lee.  “We had 75 to 100 picketers every morning standing at the entrance to the facility. The company filed suit to limit the number of picketers, but the IAM prevailed in court and the judge refused to place restrictions on the strikers.”

Both sides returned to the bargaining table with help from federal mediators and the IAM Committee was able to negotiate key improvements to end the strike. “The membership felt they needed to get the company’s attention,” said Lee. “We have had a good relationship with the company, and we hope this will strengthen that relationship and create a climate of mutual respect as we move forward together.”

An overwhelming majority approved the revised three-year package, which included a 60 cent per hour raise the first year, 55 cents the second year and 45 cents the third year. The IAM Pension Plan was also increased by 20 cents in the first year and five cents the third year. In addition to wage and pension improvements,  the employees’ health insurance premium was reduced from 28 percent to 25 percent.

“Congratulations to District 711 and Local 1441 on their improved contract,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “The membership stood together, made their voices heard and were able to conclude the strike quickly and with real gains. A strong union can negotiate a strong contract, and that’s what happened in Springfield.”