Unionized workers returned to the job today, Jan. 3, at a MonoSol LLC plant that had been shut down for more than a month due to a labor dispute.
A new four-year deal between Local 135 of the Teamsters union and the company ended a lockout that began Nov. 30 when a previous contract expired at MonoSol's La Porte, Ind., film manufacturing site.
After being unable to reach an agreement through direct negotiations, a federal mediator was brought in to bridge the gap between the union, which represents 192 employees, and the company. A key sticking point between the union and company was overtime.
The union had criticized the company for required overtime while the company countered that the overwhelming majority of overtime was voluntary.
The new contract guarantees no mandatory overtime for two years "with the opportunity to extend to a third and fourth year if certain criteria are met," according to a company statement. The contract also includes attendance and voluntary overtime incentives.
Workers will receive a $6,000 signing bonus as well as pay increases, MonoSol said.
"We are pleased that we have reached agreement and now begin the process of welcoming our employees back to work," said MonoSol Vice President Matthew Vander Laan said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing the employee brainstorming sessions that began this past summer to reset the dialogue, strengthen our relationships and build trust consistent with our shared mission, vision and values."
MonoSol, a division of Tokyo-based Kuraray Group, makes water-soluble films used for laundry and dishwashing pods.
While production was halted in La Porte, the company continued making film at two other MonoSol plants in nearby Portage, Ind., as well as plant in Lebanon, Ind., near Indianapolis. The company, which also has manufacturing locations in the United Kingdom, Japan and Poland, previously indicated there was enough capacity elsewhere cover the lost production in La Porte.
A vote on the mediator's proposal was delayed just before Christmas due to inclement weather in La Porte. The company announced the contract agreement Dec. 28 with production resuming Jan. 3.