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Local 1050 members ‘go the long haul,’ get contract


"In the interest of time, I'll also tell your side of the story." Cartoon: CAROL SIMPSON DESIGNWORKS

A defining moment for members of UAW Local 1050 was the breakdown in contract talks in November over issues ranging from higher health care costs for workers and retirees to mandatory overtime.

In Cleveland the Aluminum Co. of America (Alcoa) workers — who had remained on the job after the previous contract expired in late September — responded by hitting the picket line and stayed there for seven weeks.

Another such moment, said UAW Local 1050 President Jeff Judson, came in December after negotiations resumed and the local ratified a new four-year contract.

“The thing that makes both those times stand out is that we were willing to go the long haul,” said Judson. “We knew that whatever happened, the goal was to take something back that the members could live with, even if we needed to make a few compromises because sometimes that’s what you have to do.”

The new contract, for the first time, gives workers a company match to Alcoa's retirement savings plan of 25 percent each of the first two years and 50 percent in the third and fourth years. Company contributions will be based on employee contributions of up to 6 percent of workers’ earnings.

Under the new agreement, union members will contribute $20 a week toward their health care coverage and see deductibles between $250 and $500, Judson said.

For retirees, who will pay more of their health care costs, the union won a $1,000 lump-sum bonus to help offset those expenses, Judson said.

Local 1050 represents more than 850 active and 655 retired Alcoa workers who make aluminum aerospace products and vehicle wheels for the Big Three and large truck companies, such as Freightliner and Mack.

The union also won a more relaxed overtime policy that means fewer hours, especially on weekends.

That is good news for Jesse Deel, a 43-year-old electrician who said that previous overtime scheduling had him working 22 straight days.

“That didn’t give me much time to be a family man,” said Deel, who is married and has a 5-year-old daughter.

In UAW organizing news:

• In Region 1C workers at Plastech Engineered Products Inc. in Lansing, Mich., voted to join the UAW. The 125 workers, who voted in a Jan. 8 election, produce plastic injection mold parts for General Motors.

• In Region 2B workers at Quality Industrial Service Inc. in Lordstown, Ohio, recently voted to join the UAW. The 71 new members handle quality inspection sorting for automotive suppliers.

• In Region 4 workers at two Illinois companies recently joined the UAW through the card-check process. They include workers at Groupo-Antolin in Rockford, who handle in-plant line side logistics for Caterpillar and workers at Oakley Mfg. in Belvidere, who mount tires on rims for DaimlerChrysler.