While a new collective bargaining agreement does not directly include General Electric Co.'s resin workers, they may benefit from a contract the company's two biggest unions ratified July 9.
And one union leader vows to use a side agreement of the pact to launch an assault at the company's nonunion shops — which include most of those in the GE Plastics division.
The rank and file of GE's two largest unions — the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers (IUE) and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) — voted July 8-9 to accept a three-year contract package governing more than 28,000 GE employees. Contracts with 12 other unions will be negotiated locally throughout July, company officials said. GE's talks with its 14-union Coordinated Bargaining Committee began in May.
The pact boosts workers' pay by 9 percent in addition to cost-of-living allowances over the next three years; increases job security; enhances health insurance benefits; and adds Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a paid holiday.
Most of the GE Plastics plants' wages ``are determined locally,'' GE spokesman Bob Hess said. But he added that wages at the Selkirk, N.Y., facility that makes GE's Noryl polyphenylene oxide resins and Cycoloy polycarbonate/ABS alloys are ``historically patterned'' after the company's union contracts.
Meanwhile, a letter of agreement between the IUE and GE could affect future unionization attempts at GE Plastics, based in Pittsfield, Mass.
``For the first time ever, GE has agreed to abide by a code of conduct in union organizing drives,'' IUE President Ed Fire said in a written statement. ``We intend to take full advantage. IUE ... is already petitioning for elections at nonunion plants.''
Plastics plants would be among shops included in future IUE unionizing drives, IUE spokewoman Lauren Asplen said.