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Two unions merge with CWA.

Two unions merge with CWA

The Communications Workers of America experienced sudden growth in recent months, as the 70,000 member International Typographical Union (ITU) and the 5,800 member United Telegraph Workers union merged into the CWA, bringing its membership to about 600,000. Given that 10,000 of the ITU members are located in Canada, the CWA announced that it was changing its name to the Communications Workers of North America.

The ITU became the Printing, Publishing and Media Workers Sector within the CWA. The sector is headed by ITU President Robert S. McMichen, who, along with other ITU officers, won a new 3-year term in an election conducted with the merger balloting. At the end of the term, the number of officers leading the new unit will be reduced to three, from five. Effective immediately, pay for all five officers and staff members in the sector was frozen until other officers and staff members attain equality.

The ITU agreement ended the union's 4-year search for a merger that began in 1983 when ITU members rejected a proposed merger with the Newspaper Guild, followed by their rejection of a proposed 1985 merger with the Teamsters. In 1985, the Graphic Communications union rejected a proposed merger with the ITU, although negotiations were resumed early in 1986.

The Telegraph Workers, the other union merging into the CWA, also will retain its leaders and organization within the CWA. In addition to approving the merger, delegates to a Telegraph Workers convention also reaffirmed earlier decisions calling for elimination of the secretary, treasurer, and vice president posts and elimination of two of five regional units.

The Telegraph Workers--CWA merger agreement contains an "escape clause' permitting the Telegraph Workers to terminate the partnership during the first 3 years.

Meat processors end strike

A 2-month strike against the FDL Foods, Inc. meat processing plant in Dubuque, IA, ended when members of Food and Commercial Workers Local 150A approved a 3-year contract. Terms were similar to those negotiated by Local 1218 for 550 employees of the company's plant in Rochelle, IL, where the stoppage ended 10 days earlier.

At Dubuque, the $8 an hour base pay rate will be raised by a total of $1.05 over the term, including 50 cents retroactive to the August 27 expiration date of the prior contract. A profit-sharing plan also was continued.

At Rochelle, employees chose to forgo profit sharing in return for larger hourly wage increases, totaling $1.25.

Keebler gives lump-sum and pay increases

Keebler Co., the Nation's second largest cookie and biscuit producer, settled with the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers for 3,500 workers at six plants. Under the 2-year contract, all workers received an immediate $1,000 lump-sum payment and maintenance workers also received a 10.5-cent hourly wage increase. In the second year, maintenance workers will receive a 60-cent increase and other employees will receive 50 cents. After these increases, pay rates will range from $11.97 for "general help' and $12.60 for mixers and machine operators to $14.55 for electricians.

For workers retiring after 25 years' service or with age and service totaling 80 or more, the monthly pension benefit was raised to $675, from $650, on December 1, 1986, and to $700 a year later. Other terms included a 2.5-cent hourly increase in shift premiums, to 20 cents for the third shift and 17.5 cents for the second shift; a $10 increase in sickness and accident benefits, to $150 a week; and a $4,000 increase in accidental death or dismemberment insurance, to $15,000.

The contract, running to October 31, 1988, covers operations in Atlanta and Macon, GA, Grand Rapids, MI, Denver, CO, Cincinnati, OH, and Van Nuys, CA.

A&P contract calls for five wage increases

In the New York City--northern New Jersey area, 10,000 employees of 173 Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. stores were covered by a contract negotiated by the United Food and Commercial Workers. Over the 3-year term, full-time employees will receive five wage increases totaling $80 to $95 a week, varying by job classification. The resulting rates will be $695 a week for meat department heads, $641 for top-rated meat cutters, and $526 for clerks. Part-time employees received increases in the top rate totaling $1.25 an hour, bringing their hourly pay to $9.01.

Full-time employees age 65 with at least 35 years' service who retire after November 30, 1988, will receive a maximum pension of $700 a month, up from about $600. For part-timers, the maximum pension will increase to $210 a month, from $87.

The contract also established a drug and alcohol abuse program, extended the legal services plan to part-time employees, and reduced the Sunday premium pay to double time from double time and one-half, effective April 24, 1988.

Boeing settles with professional engineers

More than 24,000 employees of Boeing Co. were covered by a 3-year contract negotiated by the Seattle (WA) Professional Engineering Employees Association, but 2,000 members of the Wichita (KS) Enginering Association rejected similar terms.

Terms for the 14,000 professional engineers covered by the Seattle accord included an immediate lump-sum payment equal to 9 percent of earnings between October 4, 1985, and October 3, 1986. There also was a provision for merit pay increases to deserving employees from an allocation of money equal to percentages of the units total annual salary. The first allocation, made immediately, was 3 percent, to be followed by five 2-percent allocations at 6-month intervals.

The two-tier pay system established in 1983 for the 10,000 technicians was maintained. However, employees at or above the midpoint of the salary range for their job will be eligible for "selective' pay adjustments of 2 percent in May 1987, and 3 percent in May of 1988 and 1989. (Employees who do not receive these adjustments will continue to require 4 years to move from the starting to the maximum rate for their job.) All technicians received an initial 9-percent lump-sum payment similar to that for engineers.

Connecticut telephone workers end strike

A 2-month strike against Southern New England Telephone Co. ended when members of the Connecticut Union of Telephone Workers approved a 3-year contract that called for wage increases combined with lump-sum payments, as well as major changes in health insurance. The company said that the combined lump-sum payments and wage increases were equivalent to 2.5-percent wage increases in each contract year. In the first year, the lump-sum payment is $500, followed by $300 payments in the second and third years.

A major factor in ending the stoppage by the 9,700 operators, technicians, and service clerks was the company's agreement to postpone until January 1, 1988, a new medical copayment plan it had been seeking to institute. Under the new approach, the annual deductible will be based on a percent of pay: one-half percent for an individual and 1 percent for a family, to a maximum of $150 per person and $300 per family. Employees will pay 20 percent of medical expenses above the deductibles, to a maximum of $1,000 a year. In each succeeding year in which an employee's family medical expenses exceed $5,000, the employee will be required to pay a total of $500.

The parties also agreed to eliminate all coinsurance payments by employees who agree to seek medical care from members of a statewide panel of doctors assembled by the company. Employees enrolled in health maintenance organizations are already exempt from all deductibles and copayment requirements.

The parties also added a vision care plan, a dental health maintenance organization, and a plan permitting employees to receive prescription drugs free if ordered by mail.

City employees may get "corrective' increases

In San Francisco, efforts to end alleged compensation discrimination against women and minorities employed by the city moved forward when voters authorized city officials to grant corrective increases if warranted by survey results. The new section 8.407-1 of the city charter requires the Civil Service Commissioner to submit annual comparisons of compensation of city employees to the Board of Supervisors, which could then make "upward pay equity adjustments' not to exceed the rates recommended by the Commission, subject to veto by the mayor.

Officials of the Service Employees union said pay increases could come shortly after the February 1, 1987, deadline for submission of the first survey results to the Board of Supervisors. A $30 million fund was already available for corrective pay increases as a result of 1985 negotiations between the union and the city.

In the last 2 years, the Board has twice approved pay equity ordinances that were vetoed by the mayor, who favored the concept but rejected the increases because they were too expensive.
COPYRIGHT 1987 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:Communications Workers of America, International Typographical Union, United Telegraph Workers
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Feb 1, 1987
Previous Article:New York state acts to reduce plant closings.
Next Article:The transformation of American industrial relations.

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