June 6, 2008 Volume 109 Number 11

Steelworkers ratify new contract at Cascade Steel

United Steel Workers Local 8378 reached a final agreement with Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, which members ratified May 30.

After voting down an earlier company offer several weeks prior, members picketed outside the McMinnville plant and conducted a one-shift shutdown of the melt shop May 16.

The company, owned by Schnitzer Steel Industries, then sweetened its proposal, making a 3.5 percent raise retroactive to the April 1 end of the previous contract, agreeing to start a 1 percent 401(k) match much earlier in the contract, and setting up a fund to compensate union stewards and officers when they do union work.

That last item had been a sticking point, since up to now, union officers who spent lots of time on grievances and arbitrations could fall behind coworkers in company pension contributions and production bonuses.

The new contract provides for three annual raises of 3.5 percent. It gives union members greater say on the company's safety committee. And it commits the company to cover the costs for Steelworker safety training and occupational safety conferences.

It also gives the union sole administration of the canteen fund, which uses profits from vending machine sales in the employee break room. The fund pays for flowers on the birth or death of a family member, and once a year, is parceled out to local charities, school sports teams, and employee scholarships.

The final agreement was much improved from the company's first offer, which was an 18-month contract with a 4 percent 401(k) match and no wage increase.

The new contract runs three years and expires March 31, 2011.


Home | About

© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.