Last week the company's spokesperson asked us what items we had left to negotiate. We referred them to the Union Agenda that we presented when negotiations began. We also compiled a list of items on our agenda that haven't been discussed, yet. We provided them with the Departmental issues that were submitted to us by stewards and members.
The Union informed the Company that we are seeking a six year Agreement. The Company had previously suggested a four year Agreement.
We informed the Company that we are seeking 3% wage adjustments for each year of the Agreement. The Company has pointed to the RockTenn/USW Master Agreement as what to expect for wage adjustments. That Ageement was 2% - 2% - 2% - 2.5% - 2.5% - 2%.
The Union proposed a $1 increase to the pension multiplier for each year of the Agreement front loaded as a $6 bump the first year. The Company again pointed to the RKT/USW Master which called for a $3 increase on top of whatever Locals with a defined benefit plan had previously negotiated. This was a six year Agreement with the $3 added in two $1.50 installments.
The Company still wants to transition to department seniority. If you're willing to sell out future generations of workers, discussion with the Company indicates that we may see them propose grandfathering mill seniority for current employees, with department seniority being applied to future hires.
The premium pay buyout, when calculated in the same manner as the RKT/USW Master, will likely be a little shy of $8,000. When averaged across everyone in our bargaining unit, eliminating premium pay amounts to close to a 5% cut in annual income. Most of us would start losing money under the premium pay buyout in less than three years. It's also worth bearing in mind how much taxes would reduce the lump sum buyout.
The document below includes the remaining agenda items document, departmental issues, and language proposed by the union last week.
The Company also presented language concerning the Union's Safety Director. There are legal issues with the Safety Director being under direction of the Union while employed by the Company. The language establishes that the Union selects the Safety Director, but the Safety Director is under direction of the Company's Safety Manager.
The Company has not presented anything as a formal proposal, but you can see the direction they are heading on most issues. We are scheduled to resume negotiations with WRK 3/23 - 3/24 and 3/27 - 3/31. The Union and Company will work on department issues, standby language for 12 Hour Shifts, and outstanding grievances locally, prior to returning to the table in March. I believe there is a good chance that the Company may extend an offer in March. We'll continue to keep you informed going forward.
Below is the Maintenance, Oiler, and Safety Director language presented by the Company.