In addition to annual raises of 35¢/hr., the new contract makes improvements on overtime scheduling and layoff procedures. The company had proposed to eliminate daily overtime and Sunday double time, but both proposals were shot down. The union also got Medegen to drop proposals which would have forced employees to use vacation time during plant shutdowns and while employees were on FMLA leave.
The improvements to health and dental insurance were significant. There are no premium increases until 2019 and union members’ insurance rates will continue to be significantly lower than the rates paid by non-bargaining unit employees over the contract’s term. The insurance plan’s benefits cannot be changed unless they are changed company wide and the company must give the union advance notice. Wellness screenings will offer additional savings for employees who participate.
“Thanks to our committee members, the union staff, and the rest of our co-workers”, says bargaining committee member Forestine Lee. “Without everyone playing their parts, we could not have achieved our goal. Everyone stayed focused on overcoming all obstacles and improving the contract from what we had before.”
The new contract expires in July, 2021.