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Lengthy dispute ends at Ravenswood.

Lengthy dispute ends at Ravenswood

The Ravenswood Aluminum Corp. and Local 5668 of the Steelworkers ended a bitter 19-month lockout with a 3-year collective bargaining agreement covering 1,700 production and maintenance workers in Ravenswood, wv.

The dispute, which involved an international corporate campaign and strong support from organized labor in the United States and overseas, attracted intemational attention to the issue of permanent strike replacements.

Under terms of the settlement, lockedout workers would be recalled to work in order of seniority and replacement workers would be terminated. Returning workers would be credited for continuous service to maintain seniority and pension rights. Both parties would withdraw or rescind all lawsuits and proceedings and charges filed with the courts or government agencies, and the company would rescind discipline or suspensions already taken for all but two employees.

A central part of the dispute was backpay. The agreement called for a $2,000 payment for each locked out worker for backpay liability from November 1 through November 30, 1990, and a "Progress Sharing Plan," a profit-sharing plan in which employees would receive a prorated share of 10 percent of Ravenswood's after-tax profits for each year through 1997, for backpay liability from November 30, 1990, to the date of the settlement. The parries agreed that it was unrealistic to expect full backpay given the odds of winning a full backpay award from the National Labor Relations Board and the company's ability to fund such an award.

The contract also calls for wage increases of 75 cents an hour in the first year and 25 cents an hour in the second and third years; continuation of the quarterly cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) clause that provides for 1 cent an hour for each 0.3-point change in the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners and Clerical Workers after the index has risen 3 percent above the base-month level; and agreement that 74 cents an hour previously earned in COLA allowances will be rolled into basic wage rates.

Other terms include a successorship clause; a $3 increase over the term of the contract in the monthly pension rate for each year of credited service; elimination of the quarterly bonus tied to the price of aluminum in exchange for an additional $1.25 an hour in basic wage rates, a move that turns back past pay concessions; a 10-percent increase, to between $233 and $286 per week, in sickness and accident benefits; a $10 increase, to $50, in the annual allowance for work shoes; a $25,000 life insurance payment to beneficianes of workers who died during the lockout; and more flexibility for management to combine jobs.

Settlement at NY utility

With the help of a State mediator, negotiators for the Consolidated Edison Co. and Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America reached agreement recently on a 4-year contract covering 12,500 utility workers in New York City and suburban Westchester County, N. The union, which characterized the settlement as the best in the last 20 years, said a public pressure campaign was a major factor in winning a generous contract. Pensions and health care were the major issues in dispute.

The agreement called for several changes in benefits, including a cafeteria style plan for medical insurance that would offer six levels of benefits; a company-paid lifetime medical monitoring program for occupational diseases for about 7,000 employees who work with asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls, or lead; a $1 increase, to $25 weekly, in the employee share of medical insurance costs, effective in the third and fourth years of the contract; a decrease in the age requirement, from 60 to 55 with 30 years of service, for full pensions; an increase in the pension calculation formula, from 45 percent to 48 percent of the final 5 years' average earnings; and an addition of 5 years of service and 5 years of age for employees retiring during two "open windows" scheduled during the first 15 months of the contract.

Other terms included wage increases of 4.24 percent in the first and second years of the contract and 4.5 percent in the third and fourth years; an emergency child care provision that would require the company to provide a referral program for employees who unexpectedly have to leave their children unsupervised because of a work assignment; an increase in the night shift differential; and a shortening of the wage progression.

Work stoppage ends at Kroger

Members of Local 876 of the United Food and Commercial Workers ratified a tentative 5-year collective bargaining agreement, ending a 9-week walkout idling approximately 7,800 workers at 64 Kroger grocery stores in the Detroit, MI, area.

Workers approved the pact despite recommendation s by the union's bargaining committee and 300-member store advisory committee to reject it. Major sticking points in the negotiations were wage rates, a reduction in paid personal leave, and greater use of outside vendors.

The pact called for a wage increase of $2 an hour over the term of the contract. At the expiration of the previous contract, the top rate for clerks/cashiers hired before August 1987 was $10.37 an hour and $8.37 an hour for those hired later, $8.46 an hour for specialty clerks hired before August 1987 and $6.46 an hour for those hired later; the top rate for managers was $11.37.

Other terms included a guarantee of 2,000 full-time jobs in the bargaining unit, an increase from 1,200; expedited, binding arbitration of disputes over the additional use of vendors to stock merchandise while guaranteeing that the company will not reduce current employees' hours as a result of increases in vendor stocking; a reduction in paid personal days for full-time employees, from 15 days to lO days in the first 2 years of the contract, decreasing to 8 days in the third year; an increase in the company's monthly contributions to the health and welfare fund, from between $90.37 and $304 per employee to between $123.12 and $423.74 per employee; an increase in the company's contributions to the pension fund, from between 5 cents and 76 cents per hour worked to between 20 cents and $1.101 per hour worked; and an agreement to schedule part-time workers for at least 12 hours weekly.

Stock plan changed at Cone Mills

Following a 12-hour work stoppage by workers at Cone Mills' Salisbury, NC, plant, negotiators for the company and the Clothing and Textile Workers union reached agreement on a 2-year labor contract, covering 2,400 workers at plants in Greensboro, Haw River, and Salisbury, NC. The settlement significantly modified the company's employee stock ownership plan.

The settlement calls for the establishment of a 401 (k) savings plan, with a partial company match, by January 1, 1993. As part of the program, employees can receive common stock and have the option to divert excess funds in their employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) to the 401(k) plan. The company had used the ESOP to fund pension obligations.

Other terms include wage increases of 4 percent over the term of the contract; a one-time bonus ranging from between $200 and $500 for all current hourly paid employees who participate in the 401(k) plan; and several changes in health insurance coverage, including increases in maximum annual "out-of-pocket" expenses (to $1,750 for single coverage and $3,500 for family coverage), increased employee premiums for health care coverage for dependents, .coverage of mammograms and pap tests, and a 50--50 split of refunds for overcharges for medical services not rendered.

Cone Mills, the world's largest producer of denim, manufactures apparel fabric and curtain and sofa coverings.

UAW settlement at Maytag

Members of Local 997 of the United Automobile Workers ratified a new 3-year collective bargaining agreement recently with Maytag Co. for 1,700 production and maintenance workers at the company's Newton, IA, plant. The major issues in the contract talks were wages, health care costs, pensions, and time off.

Maytag, a division of Maytag Corp., manufactures washers, dryers, and food waste disposals at the Newton plant.

The contract provided wage increases of 3 percent retroactive to June 1, 1992, and 2.5 percent on June 1, 1994; a lumpsum payment equal to 2.5 percent of an employee's regular earnings during the preceding year, payable in June 1993; and continuation of the cost-of-living adjustment clause providing for quarterly payments equal to 1 cent an hour for each 0.35-point increase in the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. At the expiration of the previous contract, employees' pay reportedly averaged $14.25 an hour.

Other terms included continuation of the traditional indemnity health insurance plan, with the addition ofpre-approval for nonemergency hospitalization and mental health and substance abuse treatment, continued hospital stay review, and individual case management; establishment of an optional health maintenance organization health care plan; improvements in pension, insurance, dental and vision care plans and in sickness and accident insurance coverage; and a letter of understanding encouraging employee involvement in work-related matters.
COPYRIGHT 1992 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Title Annotation:Ravenswood Aluminum Corp.
Author:Cimini, Michael H.; Behrmann, Susan L.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Previous Article:New AT&T job security plans.
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