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Large turnout at membership meeting

At a well attended IUE-CWA Local 201 Membership Meeting held on Tuesday April 15, 2014, the Membership took the following actions:
• Rejected by a 70% to 30% margin the Petition (sponsored by Board Member Fred Russell) to restructure Union Officers and Board Members Elections beginning with the Union Elections in October of 2014
• Approved by a 89% to 11% margin reducing delegates to Convention, Conference Board and District from 4 delegates to 3.
• Approved by 75% to 25% margin adding a provision that if a GE Board Members jurisdiction drops below 250 members that less lost time shall be allotted for that individual under a Chief Steward role
• Accepted unanimously the report by the Business Agent on the ongoing Piecework Negotiations
Local 201 Retirees President Kevin Mahar was given a lifetime labor award from Local 201 for his years and dedication to helping retirees’ pension and benefits.

Company rejects union proposal.

On March 14, 2014 GE rejected Local 201’s March 7, 2014 proposal to modify the current piecework system by rolling back the piecework price formula by 10% to 2008 levels with an agreement to increase “flexibility” and “teaming” in Plant IV. That union proposal (now rejected by GE) was printed in the March 18, 2014 edition of the 201 NEWS.
The Company main response was that they want “to bargain over the removal of the piecework system, not the modification of piecework”. They continue to argue that the system is productive but not productive enough to offset the cost of the system and that they believe the system does not foster “flexibility” or “teaming” as it a system based on “individualistic behavior” The company also asserted it that the Union proposal would only reduce shop rate by $4.55 – not nearly enough to make Plant IV competitive. And finally the Company contended that the Union proposal did not address the issues important to the Company of having to have “significant resources” to mange the system, of their desire to become “one Lynn manufacturing operation” or moving to the use of “1 man multiples”


Next Bargaining Session Feb. 27



Local 201’s expanded bargaining committee met on February 6 for hours reviewing the Company’s proposal given the Union on January 27 that calls for conversion of the Plant IV piecework system to a daywork system on July 1, 2014.


The union committee decided to contact the company over a number of information requests Local 201 had made at the January 27 meeting and especially information concerning the productivity of the piecework system vs. a daywork system. The union discussed various “ideas” how to make the piecework system more cost effective but came to no final conclusions and decided to ask the company their level of interest in any proposals attempting to adjust the system versus ending it, and their reasoning behind their desires.


The company responded in writing that they have reviewed themselves various options to “fix” the system over the last year and for one reason or another have ruled them all out. They cite that piecework was mainly designed for manual operations and not NC machining and that “70%” of Plant IV is now NC machining. The company says it is not conducive anymore to be a cost-effective system and any efforts to make it such run in to obstacles with pricing disputes (one man multiples). They also declared that Plant IV is only “slightly “ more productive than LMO and that margin falls short of the cost they pay for that productivity. The company plans on showing the union slides to demonstrate that point. On top of all this, they state they do not have the necessary resources to mange the system anymore.


The Company is also stating that without a major change, on shop costs and rates, Lynn Plant IV (they cite as the most expensive in the whole Aviation Supply chain) will not be in a position to compete for new work. They are saying that with the anticipated cost impact on a conversion to daywork, they will be able to look at competing to bring work back into Lynn and can seek consideration on future new work by continuing to demonstrate progress on costs and flexibility across one pay system. They state the removal of the piecework system best positions the Lynn site and Lynn Plant IV for the future.


The union bargaining committee met again on Wednesday, February 19 to discuss the above company response and an afternoon bargaining session with the company has been set for Thursday, February 27. Local 201 Business Agent Ric Casilli stated “We hope to have former Everett/ Plant IV Board Member Fred Merchant Jr. join our Committee for this bargaining session with the Company.”


Piecework Negotiations are the featured item of the February 25 monthly membership meetings.

Piecework a historic part of Local 201

Business Agent’s Column

By Ric Casilli


The piecework system has been an historic part of sections of the Local 201 GE Bargaining Units for 60-70 years. Piecework existed in many sections of our GE plants at one time, with Plant IV being the only current survivor.


There is a reason that GE wanted a piecework pay system and a reason it has survived so many years – it was way more productive than a daywork pay system. GE realized this and profited big time off this pay system for years and years with proper management of the system. Many Local 201 members, due to the monetary incentives of such a system, realized better wages and better pensions due to this system. It was a win-win. The Company got great productivity and profits, and many members (usually with high service) were able to get rewarded with these jobs in the later parts of their GE careers and boost their inadequate career GE pensions. The GE pension system is wage and career earnings based and the higher piecework wages combined with regular contractual Pension Updates ensured that many members were able to retire with a livable pension.

In essence, it was a mutually beneficial pay system.


That system is in danger now. GE says it no longer works and not cost effective, and says it is hindering us from being able to be “in the game” as a cost-competitive Aviation site for new work. How did this piecework system go from being considered at one time a high productivity high profit system for the Company to something they consider the biggest obstacle for getting new work into the Lynn site?  I have heard hundreds of “opinions” from company representative, Plant IV Stewards, piecework members and daywork members as to whether in the system is in fact still good for the Company or is no good. I also have heard hundreds of “opinions” as to what has hurt the system and who is to blame. I have my “opinions” on both these matters but “opinions” really do not matter in this situation right now


What matters is that the company has an obligation to clearly back up their  assertions and contention with facts and statistics (not opinions) that a piecework system in Plant IV can no longer be profitable, productive and cost effective. They also need to demonstrate in detail just how the end of that system will automatically translate into more new work, investment, and hiring and be a “win” for the entire River Works plant. They owe all 1600 GE members (and their employees) this - because any end of the piecework system shall certainly have a major negative impact immediately on 185 of our members’ wages and future pension earnings – and also the future opportunity for current dayworkers to transition to piecework later in their GE careers.


In essence, they have an obligation to clearly articulate why they want to dismantle a Everett/Plant IV system that for over 60 years was considered a “Win for the Company” and a “Win for the Union Members”.  


Make it in Lynn … 

Wear Your “Farm-in” button; watch out for your work.


[The Local 201 Next Generation Committee hosted a discussion with 201 stewards and officers to create a network in the shop to monitor farm out.  The following flier and buttons should be in the shops.  If not, see your steward to find out how to be involved.]


The Union, through our steward network and Executive Board members, is vigilant on monitoring farmed-out work and is working to prevent unnecessary farm-out.  If the Company chooses to farm-out ongoing production work when they don’t expect layoffs they still must tell the Union.  Sometimes they don’t and that is a contract violation.  Local 201 needs your help! 


The teeth that make the contract language stronger are our members’ vigilance.  Members understand the work flow, the impact of a broken machine and the way to get things done that newer management people may not understand.  The Union uses farm-out notices to make common sense arguments where we can to keep more work in house and there have been successes.


When the Company planned to farm-out eight or nine shifts of work for the EDM group in building 77 J due to a minor maintenance issue, a member gave a steward a heads up.  The work was returned, since there had been no notice, and since the maintenance issue was resolved the farm-out was cut in half.


Farm-in takes persistence!  After 15 years, the Union has been able to get the T700 diffuser casing farmed-in to Building 74 from a local vendor. 


If the Company wants to bring craft subcontractors into the plant, they are required to notify the Union and bring it to the Crafts “21 day notice” committee which meets regularly. One success in the Crafts is the awarding of the contract to refurbish the office areas in Building 74 that put plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tinsmiths and RC’s to work. 


Our contract language on farm-out is weak.  It requires the Company to give 60 day or 6 months’ notice (depending on the type of work) and to bargain with the Union if they expect the transfer of work to cause layoffs.  Local 201 has often entered into decision bargaining to stop these transfers and sometimes we have been successful.  The contract, however, does not mandate the Company to keep the work after such negotiation which makes it difficult.  Company labor relations representatives have repeatedly told the Union that they have the right to manage or “mismanage” the Business as they see fit.


So, take a button and wear it proudly!  Tell your Steward if you see your work going out.  Help your Steward get the facts to argue to keep the work in.  The button’s a reminder:


Farm-In; Make it Right, 201 Pride in Lynn!

781-598 - 2760





On Friday May 17, 2013 Local 201 reached a tentative agreement on a new 3 year Contract with Veolia Water. Negotiations had hit a “standstill” on April 26 but with membership meetings, actions and solidarity showed by members, the Union finally was able to secure an agreement despite a tough economic negotiating environment. The agreement was reached 17 days past the official non-extended expiration date of our 2010-2013 Labor Agreement. The agreement contains 3 wage rate increase built into the base pay and no unpopular lump sum bonuses.
Following is a SUMMARY of the Key Points of the Agreement:
May 1, 2013 - 1.75% (for ALL members and retroactive to May 1, 2013)
May 1, 2014 - 2.25% * (see note #1 below)
May 1, 2015 - 2.50% * (see note #1 below)
• Note #1: Second and Third year wage increases not applicable for employees whose license is below that which is required for their position. If operators with G2 license achieve a G4 license during this contract, their wages would increase 13.7% over the 3 contract years! If operators with no license achieve a G4 license during this contract, their wages would increase 17.1% over the 3 contract years! This means that almost one third of the workforce has the opportunity to secure huge wage increases during this 3 year agreement.
• Note: # 2: New Rate chart established for O&M Techs with license requirements lowered and an opportunity to secure additional rate increases beyond the 3 general wage increases above. Also, the old O&M II rate become new O&M III rate (G6 license required) giving one member an $0.88 per hour rate increase before any of the 3 general wage rate increase are even applied.
• Company will schedule and pay 50% up front for the cost of a G4 license preparation class at the plant if a minimum of 8 sign up. Members pay the other 50% but will be reimbursed if they pass the G4 exam within 6 months of completion of class. Members will be also reimbursed for the cost of the G4 Test if they pass.
• Members in EPO or PPO medical plans, who become “Wellness participants”, shall have premium rates locked in at 20% of the plan costs for the 2014, 2015 and 2016, rather than paying the standard company non-union premium rates which range all the way up to 25% of plan costs. Requirements to be a Wellness participant, especially for 2014, are extremely simple and all members are urged to participate and lock in the reduced rate.
• Members electing not to participate in “Wellness” and choose to stay in the EPO Medical plan would pay premiums between 25.8% and 27.8 % of plan costs OR could switch to the cheaper PPO medical plan to hold down their premium payments.
• For all members- If the Medical premiums members pay rise over 25% from today’s premium rate over the life of the Contract (as a result of Plan cost increases), members on payroll and participating in the plan for 3 years shall receive a one- time payment January 1, 2016 based on their current plan election as follows: Individual = $100; Employee + 1 or children = $200; Family = $300.
• To maintain participation in the Defined Benefit Pension Plan at the current monthly benefit rate, the Company will increase their current $0.85 per hour payment for members to $0.97 (May 1, 2013), $1.10 (May 1, 2014), and to $1.25 (May 1, 2015). These payments maintain the current benefit level and do not increase it.
• No changes in the 401K plan
• Our NO LAYOFF CLAUSE remains in the Contract, modified to allow an exception if there is a MAJOR change in the scope of services implemented by the LWSC and provided that such layoff does not also violate any provisions of the Company’s contract with the LWSC. As members are aware, the LWSC voted recently NOT to make a major scope cutback and shall continue to use incineration. This was a right decision and supported by the Union.
• Defended our time off program as related to Perfect Attendance. Beat back a Company proposal to eliminate members earning extra days off and change the program into a bonus program. Also, secured a provision that one instance of tardiness will not disqualify a member from the days off awards.
• Sick time now can be taken in one hour increments(currently only 4 or 8 hour increments) when a member has a medical appointment, gets 24 hour advance approval and provides documentation from a qualified medical provider.
• New language allowing the use of funeral leave days when a death occurs while one is on a pre-scheduled vacation.
• No additional restrictions on use of time off, as Company proposals aimed at doing such were withdrawn.
• Beat back a hated company proposal that would have eliminated vacation days, holiday, PA days, Personal Days and Floating Holidays for counting as time worked for the purpose of OT pay calculations. Our language stays the same!
• Swampscott pager premium increased from $50.00 to $75.00.
• Tool allowance (every other year) increased from a net $100 to a net $125.
• Shift premium increased from $1.15 to $1.20 (swing shift) and from $1.40 to $1.45 (third shift) on January 1, 2014.
• Safety Program modified and Quarterly bonus amounts increased from $75.00 to $100.00. Extra annual bonus increased from $100.00 to $150.00.
• Clarified language that a member gets paid the higher rate on the first day when assigned temporarily to a higher rated classification.
• CMV and Hydraulic Bonus amounts will be now paid out within 2 pay periods at the end of the contract year and members will be eligible for pro-rated payments in the event of an employee resignation, retirement or medical leave during the annual period
• No agreement on Medication Grievance Settlement still applying –will have to be settled in grievance procedure or even at Arbitration.
Your Union Negotiating Committee is recommending acceptance. Please attend one of the information meetings this Thursday for information, discussion and a ratification vote.
IUE-CWA Local 201 Veolia Negotiating Committee
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