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Solid First Contract at Greenlee Textron Tools


November 24, 2014

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'We got a good contract. Now it’s time for the company to form a partnership with IBEW,' says Don Lundin, a negotiating committee member at the freshly-organized unit of Rockford, Ill., Local 364 at Greenlee Textron Tools.

Great organizing campaigns don’t always lead to great contracts.

But the collaboration between Rockford, Ill., Local 364, IBEW’s Membership Development staff and a strong volunteer organizing committee at Greenlee Textron Tool’s plant northwest of Chicago that won its campaign in 2013 was reaffirmed with a 45 to 5 October vote ratifying a new contract.

The five-year contract includes seniority protections, wage increases of 15.5 percent and an additional holiday. The agreement includes a grievance procedure and a mutual commitment to promote Greenlee products in the electrical trade.

International President Edwin D. Hill sent a letter to Greenlee’s president during the most contentious stage of the campaign touting the benefits of a partnership with IBEW in promoting the plant’s products in the trade. The plant produces hydraulic pull saws, cement saws, cable cutters, high-dollar pipe benders, pullers and fish tapes.

 A story in the January issue of The Electrical Worker, “Ill. Tool Plant Triumph Aided by Calif. Organizers,” detailed how local management disrespected the service of long-term, dedicated workers in job assignments which motivated workers who had previously rejected organizing to vote for the union.

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During the Greenlee organizing campaign, workers set up a website to match the company’s which said, 'Made for the Trade.' The campaign’s site said, 'We Are the Trade,' touting the pride of the Genoa, Ill. workforce.

“We got a pretty good contract. Now it’s time for Greenlee to form a partnership with IBEW to make this an even better place to work,” says Don Lundin, a longtime Greenlee employee who  played a key role in a losing 2003 campaign at Greenlee, but maintained hope his co-workers would recognize the need for a union at the plant.

Retiring Sixth District International Representative Tim Collins and fellow International Representative Shawn Reents assisted Local 364 Business Manager Tom Sink in negotiations. They say the negotiating committee’s intimate knowledge of the plant and the company helped seal the deal on some complex issues and aided the predominantly inside construction local in understanding the needs of its new manufacturing members.

“Greenlee handled the negotiations professionally,” says Reents, who adds, “I think it helped that Greenlee truly recognizes the influence of the IBEW as a major customer for its tools.”

The contract’s terms equal or exceed those of other unions’ bargaining units at the company. And demand is strong for the company’s products, with workers scheduled six-day weeks and eleven-hour days.