TUSCALOOSA, Ala.—The United Steelworkers union has ratified a master agreement with two Michelin/BFGoodrich plants in the U.S., according to results posted on two Locals' websites.
Locals 351 and 715 voted to accept the agreement, 1,034 to 741, thus establishing a new labor agreement through July 27, 2019, for the facilities in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Fort Wayne, Ind.
A majority of the Tuscaloosa membership voted for the agreement, 595 to 265. However the majority of membership at Fort Wayne voted against the agreement, 476 to 439 with three votes voided.
Voting was finalized on Aug. 17.
The policy brings about the first general wage increase at the facilities in 16 years and only the second since COLA was implemented more than 40 years ago, according to a summary of the contract posted on Locals' websites.
Level 1 and 2 new tier employees will receive a $1 per hour increase in the first pay period following ratification, according to the summary. All new Tier Level 3, 4, 5 and technical maintenance will receive a 30 cent per hour increase in the first pay period following ratification, another 30 cent increase per hour in the first pay period of August 2017, and 35 cents per hour in the first pay period of August 2018.
Other highlights from the summary include:
- Michelin agreed to renew the plant security side letter from the 2009 contract;
- COLA will continue to have a guaranteed minimum and maximum during the life of the contract, set at 0.5 percent and 3 percent;
- All new tier employees whose wages have caught up to the grandfathered wages along with technical maintenance employees will have COLA increases incorporated for the life of the agreement;
- The USW was successful in stopping Michelin from forcing the remaining grandfathered employees working in Level 1 and 2 jobs out of those positions over the course of the next three years and from contracting out certain jobs;
- Contract language has been corrected to ensure employees are credited properly when determining employer contributions for a participant who is suspended;
- The USW was successful in getting Michelin to agree to auto enrolling new hires into their 401k plan at 2 percent and all members can increase or decrease their contributions; and
- Despite escalating costs, the summary outlined the union maintained lower premiums than other competitors.
In 2013, the union negotiated master agreements for all three major tire makers in the same summer. The three agreements with Goodyear, Michelin and Bridgestone Corp. were set to expire in July of 2017, but the Michelin contract contained an opt out clause for 2016.