Monday, July 26, 2010

West Point, PA Union Contract Signing Bonuses Still Unpaid

Even now, more than ten weeks after the United Steelworkers Local 10-86 voted in favor a new three year agreement at Merck's West Point, Pennsylvania facility, the company hasn't paid the workers their contract signing bonuses. Here's the most-recent update, from the USW 10-86 webpage:

. . . .The Negotiating Committee met again with our law firm and then the Company to clarify language in regards to about ten items in the contract. These meetings took place Tuesday, July 20th. There are still issues about what some of the language actually means. Once the language is clarified, the contract will be signed, and signing bonuses will be released. . . .

I'll keep you posted -- but it looks like the signing bonus won't come until the August paycheck runs are processed.


Anonymous said...

seems rather straight forward. you don't get contract benefits like a bonus unless the contract is signed. am I missing something here? appears they voted 10 weeks ago to approve, but it still isn't signed. in hind sight, wouldn't you vote on something that was near final version?

condor said...

There seems to be some back-tracking by the company's management -- Merck -- on what some of the more nuanced language previously-agreed-to might mean.

In other words, Merck is trying to bend/wiggle out of some of the clauses that led the USW Local 10-86 membership to vote in favor of the contract back in May 2010 -- at least as I understand the reports from some of the union members.

The allegation is essentially "bait and switch."

In any event, it is unfortunate for the families of these workers, many of whom were counting on the bonus money to cover past-due bills.

Namaste, and do stop back!

Condor said...

Here's at least one union member's sentiment:

. . .Our union should be demanding the signing bonus and not forced into signing the contract to get it.

F*** the signing bonus.

Don't sign the contract until all the gray areas and issues are settled.

We have another 3 years of hell.

Don't make it worse. Get things right before you sign the contract. . . .

For what it is worth.


Anonymous said...

ahh, original posting didn't mention the bait and switch, just made it sound like lawyers fine-tuning the language. I agree, I wouldn't vote on something that isn't ready to be signed in a few days.

condor said...

Note my soon to appear addition to the top of the blog, as of, and after 7:30 am EDT on July 28, 2010 -- it looks like the Hep B vaccine production (which, prior to a Janauary 2009 shutdown, at West Point, was produced at that union site) is being moved down to the non-union Durham NC facility, in 2011.

No Hep B vaccine is being made by Merck in West Point at the moment.

Could this be part of the alleged "bait and switch" concern?

We'll see.

Thanks for the ongoing "to and 'fro" -- do stop back.