First-Time Negotiating Team Bargains Wage Hikes, Job Improvements

Local 12075-26 Unit President Duane Switala and his negotiating committee bargained increased wages, a higher shift differential, more opportunities for job progression and other items to improve working conditions at International Flavors & Fragrances’ Midland, Mich., site.

It was the committee’s first time to bargain a contract since DuPont last year merged its nutrition and biosciences business with International Flavors & Fragrances.

The four-year contract, which is retroactive to Feb. 11, 2022, covers more than 100 members in logistics, operations and the lab. Members ratified the contract May 11 after rejecting it a month earlier.

The new agreement contains wage increases of 5.5 percent in 2022, 4 percent in 2023, 3 percent in 2024 and 2.5 percent in 2025. The contract expires Feb. 11, 2026.

Switala said he was “very proud of” the shift differential increase from 50 cents to a dollar per hour for everyone on a rotating shift.

Hourly technical advisors who are on call will also receive a 25-cent-per-hour raise.

Switala said the negotiating committee gained improvements in the logistics section of the contract. Now, the company has to consider seniority along with a worker’s skill and knowledge when promoting workers within logistics.

After one year of probation, level one logistics technicians will automatically be moved up to level two with more responsibility and pay. Previously, a worker could be in level 1 for several years.

Union negotiators added a new lead logistics technician position that involves greater responsibility and pay, as well as improving language around seniority and promotions.

Other contract gains included distribution of overtime more evenly and an extra day for funeral leave.

“I am extremely proud of the union committee,” Switala said. “I think they did a lot of hard work and put in a lot of research time looking at the Consumer Price Index, the inflation rate and coming up with wage increases.

“I was nervous about being on the negotiations committee,” he added, “but we had a great leader, Kent Holsing, Local 12075-0 president, who taught us a lot about bargaining. The USW’s negotiations training was a huge help, too.”

International Flavors & Fragrances makes chemical binders for coatings and pharmaceuticals that require a time release, like 8-hour Tylenol.

Pictured: USW Local 12075-26 members make the chemical binders for Tylenol’s extended release formula. 

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