By DON McINTOSH
“Will strike if provoked.” That’s the message that went out this week on workers’ backs at the Clarios auto battery factory in Canby — on T-shirts emblazoned with a rattlesnake emerging from behind the union logo. About 180 members of Machinists Local Lodge 1432 work at the plant, and their current five-year union contract expires Feb. 16.
Bargaining is set to take place the first two weeks of February. Members voted 94% to tell their bargaining team they’re ready to strike if no deal is reached, and more than 40 of them signed up volunteering to be strike captains if it comes to that.
Among the union bargaining demands this year: They want to eliminate “two-tier” terms agreed to in 2013. Workers hired since then got a 401(k) savings plan instead of a guaranteed pension, and they have only one choice, Regence, for health care, unlike more senior workers, who can choose Kaiser Permanente.
“We want to focus on closing the gap and making sure we’re all respected in the same way, that we’re all valued the same,” said Local 1432 President Andrew Davis. “I think everybody in our shop wants feel respected, is what it boils down to.”