Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Readers: Help Me Out! Did USW Local 10-86 Ratify A New Contract Last Night?

I've been watching this quietly, for over three years now. Back in May of 2010, the United Steel Workers accepted a new three year contract, at West Point -- but it wasn't finalized, and checks for back pay sent out, until August of that year.

And at Merck, three years slowly rolled by. . . the legacy Schering-Plough merger integration was completed; the Merial joint venture was restructured, rolled around with antitrust regulators, and untimately unwound; production was shifted around the globe -- from higher cost jurisdictions -- to havens, in many cases. And so, all the while, more and more new technical jobs (especially in vaccine/API functions) -- the sorts of which were once regularly slated and located at West Point, were being relocated -- all perfectly lawfully -- to Merck's shiny new Durham, North Carolina facilities -- 440, at the last public accounting.

Then, in April 2012, Merck let about 10 percent of the workforce go from its re-acquired Cherokee facility.

Most-recently, at the beginning of this month, Chairman Ken Frazier said that West Point was "safe" -- i.e., would remain open, despite the current initiative to consolidate plants, worldwide.

Now the 2010 three year contract is near exipry -- so, here's the latest -- sourced from the public portion of the USW Local's website:

. . . .The Union and the Company finished Day 18 of Negotiations late Friday night, April 26th. No new bargaining unit agreement was reached. Talks resume Monday, April 29th. The meeting at North Penn High School the same evening is still scheduled. A ratification vote is as yet undecided. Continue to work safe, work complaint and STICK TOGETHER.

In Solidarity. . . .

So -- was an acceptable proposal offered by Merck's management to the Negotiating Committee? Is it a new three year deal? If so, did the local vote to ratify, at last night's meeting? If not, is a ratification vote scheduled?


Anonymous said...

Fyi..nothing ratified since Monday night. Three day extension since then. One major concern was taken off proposal. Word yesterday "was more positive" compared to previous week. Yet nothing voted upon or ratified as of now.

Anonymous said...

The chief management negotiator for Merck is a former military officer who has a condescending attitude towards workers. The negotiations were bogged down for several weeks by this manager's insistence that the USW accept a new 12 hour shift schedule working with rotating days off. This would replace the current 8 hour work day, 40 hour week. This was a definite strike issue and was widely rejected by membership. On 29 April management finally removed their demand to the 12 hour shifts. Now since they've wasted so much time trying to ram the 12 hours down the union's throat, there are several other issues that need to be negotiated. The union is quite united and unlike previous years the USW negotiators are not bringing a lousy contract back to the membership for a vote. It appears there will be no vote until all issues are correctly negotiated.