USW Negotiates Top Wage Increases at Solvay Marietta, Ohio, Plant

Local 1-4200 members at Solvay’s Marietta, Ohio, plant overwhelmingly ratified a four-year agreement in September that included wage increases of 3.1 percent each year for the first three years and 3.15 percent for the fourth year.

The new agreement also included increases in Sunday pay, vision benefits and the shoe allowance.  A new drug policy is in the contract. Both parties settled seven outstanding grievances that were in the system at the time of negotiations.

The local also beat back management negotiators’ concessionary language on contracting out, overtime opportunities, Sunday pay and work rule changes.

“Our raises came in better than the national average, and most of all, we didn’t give anything back,” said Local 1-4200 Vice President Randy Irvine.

District 1 Staff Representative John Saunders said the membership is attuned to the regional and world economy, and was concerned about the site’s two largest customers—Apple and Boeing. Fewer orders are coming in and there is uncertainty regarding the quality of Boeing’s planes.

Photo caption: (L-R) Local 1-4200 member Gregory May, Local 1-4200 Vice President Randy Irvine and D1 Staff Rep. John Saunders.

“Members looked at the total value of the contract,” Saunders said. “I think they understood that it was a good collective bargaining agreement and that they have good benefits that were developed over numerous contracts. Our local union negotiators have been creative in getting the members’ their piece of the pie.”

Saunders said that membership support for the negotiating committee was overwhelming. “The local had key people in the plant who had access to the bargaining committee, and they communicated to the members what was happening with negotiations.”

Irvine said the negotiations were difficult this time. “The first two weeks we couldn’t agree on almost anything. It was a very negative atmosphere,” he said.

Saunders said that negotiations were harder because the site was not in full production mode and the company was reducing overtime.

“We said there would be no concessions of any kind in this collective bargaining agreement. We told them, ‘You’re not that poor,’” he said. “Our members appreciated that we stood strong against contracting out and protected overtime opportunities.”

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