Council Support Helps 3M Local Reach New Contract

Support from the USW 3M Council helped a 60-member 3M local in Fairmont, Minn., avert concessions, and win a fair contract that can serve as the basis for future improvements.

The three-year agreement, which resulted in 2.5% annual wage increases and other improvements, would not have been possible without the work of fellow USW 3M locals, said District 11 Staff Rep. Justin Recla.

In particular, Recla cited the members of Local 11-418 who underwent 10 months of hard bargaining from June 2020 to April 2021 fighting off the company’s demands and winning a fair agreement.

This set the tone for bargaining at Fairmont. “Fairmont reaped the benefits from it,” Recla said. “I think this contract is a success story. Support from the council was integral.”

Local 11-505 Vice President and Communications Officer Nate Grotzinger said the local learned a lot about negotiations from the 3M Council.

“The other 3M locals—particularly at Cottage Grove—informed our members about how to deal with the company at the bargaining table and showed us what can be done as a union during contract talks,” Grotzinger said.

He said the local implemented a text program to keep members informed about negotiations, passed out bargaining information and held more meetings. Grotzinger activated the local’s first Facebook page and used that vehicle to keep members informed.

Negotiations proceeded quickly, with the bargaining committee obtaining a ratification in about two weeks this past October, Grotzinger said. Three years ago, it took at least five months to ratify a contract.

“At the ratification vote, we described how we got to a tentative agreement and where we’ll go in future bargaining,” Recla said. “I think the membership understood.”

Local 11-505 members largely work in production and maintenance at the Fairmont plant, which makes bumper pads for furniture, diaper tape, hook and loop fasteners and other products for the industrial, consumer and electronic markets.

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