Unionized workers have overwhelmingly ratified a four-year contract with Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc., the film equipment manufacturer that underwent an ownership change last year.
Members of the International Association of Machinists approved the contract ``by almost four to one,'' said Cliff Alves, president of IAM Local 2654. He said negotiations ``went very smoothly.'' The union represents about 140 employees at the Gloucester-based firm.
Gloucester Engineering said the contract, which runs through February 2012, is the longest contract period in company history. Union members voted March 1; the firm announced the news April 2.
Last October, John Sharood and Dick Murphy, partners in private equity firm Mousam Ventures LLC, led a management buyout of the company from German conglomerate SMS GmbH.
The contract included a significant increase in tuition reimbursement for workers - which supports the firm's goal of having a highly skilled workforce. The company and the union also formed a labor-management committee that will meet regularly to ensure union employees have input into management decisions.
Alves said the contract also included a pay raise, which he called ``reasonable.''
``Considering the state of the economy, we think it's a good contract,'' Alves said.
John Foley, IAM business representative, agreed. ``In a time when unemployment is on the rise, manufacturing plants are closing nationwide, and good high-paying jobs are moving overseas at an alarming rate, there is good news for the employees at Gloucester Engineering,'' he said.
Sharood, chairman of Gloucester Engineering, said the employees produce some of the world's best film production equipment.
``This agreement gives all of us the opportunity to continue to grow our share in the highly competitive world market,'' he said.