The Salisbury local union signs a new agreement for workers with Granges America
Published on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 00:02
Salisbury – On Nov. 27, United Steelworkers Local 8573 entered into a new collective agreement with Granges America.
The union had signed a five-year contract in November 2018, which was due to expire next year, but Granges was asked to revisit the deal after workers’ wages had since fallen.
Key union negotiators who helped broker the deal include Doc Corpening, Robert Harper, Demetris Royal, Jason Everhart, Brian Fox, Brendan Trivett and Chris McCullough.
“Our biggest problem was that we had two pay scales. We had a pay scale that was put in place after we were laid off in 2009, we had a pay scale that we worked at, but everyone that was hired between 2009 and now was on a different pay scale,” said union president Chris McCullough.
People hired since 2009 saw an average wage increase of $4.53 an hour, and people hired before that saw an average wage increase of $2.50 an hour. Health benefits will also take effect immediately upon hire instead of the previous 60-day waiting period. The new three-year contract will not increase insurance health benefits and will include an annual salary increase of 3 percent.
“We used to have a five-year contract, before that we had a four-year contract, but with a three-year contract, if the wage landscape changes, we can go back and negotiate more quickly rather than burdening the company. ,” McCullough explained.
Given the benefits of the current employee plan, there had to be an opportunity to negotiate certain things that Granges America wanted.
“We had to give up some things called the progression line. It requires you to learn a job that’s above you, and when an opening comes up, you have to go and take those jobs. It limited some guys from changing departments, but in the grand scheme of things, with how high inflation is now and what other people are paying in wages, we were basically going for the money,” McCullough said.
This means that more people will stay in their unit more often. If workers want to take a position in another department, existing people are given the opportunity first in the opening, so seniority will be more important.
“At the end of the day, when you’re negotiating, you’re going to give up some things to get some things. We could have limited some of those things, but the money wouldn’t be as good,” McCullough said.
McCullough emphasizes the positive applications the new contract will mean for future employees and their commitment to the Granges.
“So when we bring in new people, we know we have stability. They’ll be able to fill orders for the next several years because we’ll be here.
It was important to get the best deal for the workers, seeing Granges as an ally rather than an enemy.
“We work with the company despite the company,” McCullough said.