Ardagh Bargaining Basics

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What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining is the legal process for reaching a contract (also known as a collective bargaining agreement or CBA) between a labor union and an employer. The contract covers the terms and conditions of employment, including wages, hours of work, paid time off, benefits, safety, job security and protections against unfair treatment or discharge.

Both our union and our employer have an obligation to bargain in good faith by providing needed information, moving proposals and ideas forward and protecting workers from intimidation.

While we may have different ideas on issues like economic improvements and job security, we all want our company to prosper and grow. The goal in bargaining is to reach an agreement that will be acceptable and beneficial to both the employer and union members.

Why is having a contract important?

Bargaining a contract is the best way to ensure we have a strong and united voice at work. Our contract clearly states the terms and conditions of employment. A contract means that management cannot simply decide, on its own, to make changes such as cutting wages and benefits, firing employees or changing schedules and holidays.

Our contract guarantees we have certain protections on the job and empowers us to use our union strength to address issues at work. If management violates the contract, we have a process in place to protect members called the grievance and arbitration procedure.

When do our contracts expire?

The contracts that cover the Hot End (Automatic Machine Department) and the Cold End (Production and Maintenance Department) expire on March 31, 2022. The contract that covers the Mold Makers expires on August 31, 2022.

What kind of proposals are discussed in negotiations?

Contract proposals usually fall into one of two categories:

  1. Economic proposals such as wages, paid time off, health insurance, retirement, and sickness and accident benefits
  2. Non-economic items such as safety standards, seniority, and grievance and arbitration.

Issues specific to a plant will be discussed and resolved by local union representatives and their management counterparts. These are often referred to as “local agreements” and are put into writing and signed by the local union and the local plant management.

Which local unions and worksites have negotiations coming up?

More than 4,200 USW members in the glass sector are covered by contracts negotiated with Ardagh in 2022.

Locals 226M, 892L-1
Burlington, WI

Locals 54M, 75M, 150T
Port Allegany, PA

Locals 166M, 89
Dolton, IL

Locals 253M, 70T
Ruston, LA

Locals 96M, 121M, 138-2
Dunkirk, IN

Locals 239M, 63T
Sapulpa, OK

Locals 222M, 55
Henderson, NC

Locals 50M, 87M, 68T
Seattle, WA

Locals 18-2, 254M
Madera, CA

Locals 193M, 47
Wilson, NC

Locals 30M, 77
Pevely, MO

Locals 14M, 65M, 106T
Winchester, IN

Locals 75T, 283M
Houston, TX

Local 38M
Marion, IN
(expiration 6/30/22)

How do we win a good contract?

Bargaining helps balance the power between us and the company, but doesn’t guarantee the results we want. It is our members who demand a fair contract.

The company doesn’t just give us anything - they never have and never will. To be successful, we need to build our bargaining power.

Bargaining power is our ability to achieve our goals in the face of opposition from the employer. It comes from our solidarity - our determination and willingness to stick together.

Displaying our solidarity among all of our local unions increases our ability to address our issues and is a decisive factor in shaping the final agreement. Sharing information and taking part in solidarity activities shows management that we are united and willing to fight for a fair contract.

How do negotiations work?

Negotiations take place at the master bargaining table where representatives from both sides come together to share and discuss proposals.

Both sides caucus (meet by themselves), make counter proposals, explore possibilities and pursue ways to resolve differences.

Neither side gets everything they propose but, by standing together in solidarity, we have a better chance to get what we want out of bargaining.

Who negotiates our contracts?

In negotiations for the Cold End and Hot End Master Agreements, conferees from each Local Union, USW leadership from headquarters and USW experienced field staff will all play a role. Claude Beaudin will Chair and oversee the bargaining at the glass companies.

Negotiations for the Mold Makers Master Agreement are conducted by the Mold Making Negotiating Committee, whose members are elected both from within the company and across the trade. Rob Witherell from the USW Collective Bargaining department will lead these negotiations.