Malarkey Roofing withdraws from pension in new contract

Members of United Steelworkers  (USW) Local 330 voted 54-41 March 9 to accept a “last best and final” offer from Malarkey Roofing Products. Voting to reject the contract offer would have meant authorizing a strike by the 115 workers at the company’s North Columbia Boulevard roof tile factory in Portland.

The vote came after the company backed off several “union-busting” proposals. Malarkey, represented by employer consultant Jim Frazer, had proposed to halt employer collection of union dues, end the requirement that represented employees become union members, and eliminate “just cause” discipline.

Under the new agreement, Malarkey will stop making pension contributions and pay $6.5 million to withdraw from the union-sponsored multi-employer pension plan. The $1.7 billion pension plan, known as PIUMPF (PACE Industry Union-Management Pension Fund), has more than twice as many retirees as active members, and it’s projected to become insolvent in less than 20 years. USW inherited the pension when it absorbed the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers (PACE) union in a 2005 merger.

Malarkey has been contributing $1.38 an hour to the pension plus a rehabilitation surcharge.

In place of the defined benefit pension, Malarkey will enroll union members in the company-sponsored 401(k), matching employee contributions dollar for dollar for the first 2 percent of salary, and 50 cents on the dollar after that up to 10 percent.

The contract runs through April 2019. It provides annual  wage increases of 1.5 percent, retroactive to the June 1, 2016, expiration of the previous union contract. Wages at the roof tile plant currently range from $16.50 to $25.96 an hour.

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