TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (Aug. 9, 2016) — The United Steelworkers (USW) union has reached a tentative master agreement with two Michelin North America Inc./BFGoodrich plants in the U.S., pending ratification.
A summary of the agreement, posted on both USW local websites, said the agreement was reached on Aug. 2. USW Local 351 in Tuscaloosa and Local 715 in Fort Wayne, Ind., will vote to ratify the agreement in the coming week. Local 351 will vote Aug. 11 and 12 while Local 715 will hold its vote on Aug. 16 and 17.
If approved, the new pact would expire on July 27, 2019. In the summary's opening letter, the USW BFGoodrich policy committee described the agreement as a “fair and equitable contract.”
The summary outlined that the union was successful in negotiating the first general wage increase at the facilities in 16 years and only the second since COLA (cost of living allowance) was implemented more than 40 years ago.
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 properly credited 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
- In spite of escalating costs, the summary outlined that the union was able to maintain 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.
The report first appeared on the website of Rubber & Plastics News, an Akron-based sister publication of Tire Business.