Local 88G Contract With Dow Features Raises, Wage Parity

Local 88G members at Dow Chemical’s two production plants in Bristol and Croydon, Pa., last fall overwhelmingly ratified a new five-year contract that covers both facilities, raising wages and making other improvements.

“We got a great contract,” said Local 88G President Mike Ledger. “We are going to be the new standard for Dow chemical. I’m getting calls from the Dow Louisville, Ky., and Knoxville, Tenn., sites and they want to see our contract because they are going to build off of it.”

The contract runs from Oct. 24, 2021 to Oct. 24, 2026. Workers received a $1,500 signing bonus for ratifying the agreement.

Over the five-year term, workers will get a 15.4 percent raise to help compensate for the freezing of the defined benefit pension for those who have it.

Local 88G represents 98 employees who work in production, maintenance and at the wastewater treatment plant.

Wage parity

A main bargaining priority was to raise the wages of those working in the logistics department. In 2010, Dow created a two-tier wage system in the logistics area by freezing wage rates and cutting $3/hour in pay for new hires.

“The logistics group comprised most of our bargaining unit, and workers in that group were tired of the company hiring people off the street and not giving the existing workforce a raise,” Ledger said. “People started leaving for other higher paid logistics jobs.

“I made it clear to the company that we would not leave negotiations until we got a catch-up raise.”

The local negotiated raises of $3/hour to help close the gap for the three job classes within the logistics department for the first year. They will receive the remaining wage increases for years two through five that the local negotiated for everyone. In five years, logistics workers will catch up to what they lost in 2010, Ledger said.

Other gains

The local also maintained their health insurance and double-time pay, increased the shoe allowance and number of days for funeral leave, negotiated lump-sum payments for emergency team members, reduced the probationary period for new hires, and regained bumping rights into other jobs for workers with high seniority.

“Everyone was pleased with the contract, especially the logistics department; they are ecstatic,” Ledger said. “It’s a life changer.”

Dow’s Bristol plant makes polymers and its Croydon production facility produces emulsifiers. The polymers go into floor stain and floor wax, while the emulsifiers are used to make hand sanitizer, suntan and sunscreen lotion, as well as paint.

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