3M Workers Unanimously Approve 3-Year Contract With Wage Gains, Other Improvements

Members of Local 4-574 at 3M’s Tilton, N.H., plant unanimously approved a three-year contract on June 5 that included improvements throughout the agreement.

“We gained in wages, the pension and got the language we wanted,” said Local 4-574 President Earl Lockwood. “I think our contract is getting better and stronger. When 3M bought us 12- to -13 years ago, they didn’t recognize the old contract, and since then, we’ve been building language back into it. I think the new agreement is clear and concise.”

The 35 members who work in maintenance, production and the shipping department will receive 2.5 percent wage increases each year of the contract, which begins July 1, 2021 and ends July 1, 2024.

The local improved retirement security by negotiating increases in the defined benefit pension.

The new contract includes a progression system to reach the top job level; streamlined and clear language on call-in pay; insertion of flextime language; a limit on the number of hours that can be worked in a 24-hour period, and improved union leave language.

Lockwood said 3M is looking to invest in the site, hire another 10 bargaining unit employees by the end of the year and change to an 8-hour, 3-shift structure. With these changes, he said the local decided to insert a firm date of Dec. 1, 2021, within the new contract for both parties to review all job descriptions. This provision meets the one-time job description review required in the agreement.

Negotiating this new contract only took three days, and Lockwood attributed that to the new management team that came in 14 months ago and membership participation in creating the local’s proposal.

“This management team is willing to work with us more than the last group of managers,” Lockwood said. “They ask us questions about the contract, ask us for our opinions, and are very good about coming and talking to the union.”

Members provided suggestions for the contract via a drop box, and the negotiating committee talked with each member to see what they wanted in the agreement. This created the solidarity the local needed to achieve a favorable settlement.

Local 4-574 members make insulating paper for motors and transformers. This paper forms the “honeycomb” placed into Humvee doors to make them bullet-proof. It also is used in electric cars, LED lighting and welding units.

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