Dow Midland Unit Ratifies Contract with Significant Raises

Members of Local 12075 overwhelmingly ratified on Feb. 10 a four-year agreement at Dow Chemical in Midland, Mich., that included wage and 401k increases to counteract the company’s pension freeze.

“The bargaining committee and members weren’t pleased that the pension will be frozen, but with all things considered, we believe we negotiated the best possible package to bring to the membership,” said Local 12075 President Kent Holsing. “The membership understood that and ratified the agreement.”

Pictured: LU 12075 President Kent Holsing from the Dow Midland, Mich., unit.

The negotiations resulted in a new pay structure with jobs mapped out accordingly. Wage increases in the first year will range from 5 to 25 percent, depending on the job classification. Everyone will receive a 2.7 percent pay increase the second year, 2.9 percent the third year and 2.7 percent the fourth year.

“These are the largest wage increases in my 36 years at Dow,” Holsing said.

The local also obtained a $1,000 ratification bonus and an increase in the shift differential from 50 to 60 cents.

Besides the raises, the local also negotiated improvements to the 401k plan.

Dow changed the basis for its 401k match from a base rate of pay to workers’ total compensation. It will match 5 percent of the first 6 percent a worker puts into their 401k, and make it retroactive to the beginning of 2022.

In 2024, every employee without a 401k will have one, and Dow will contribute 4 percent of a worker’s total compensation into every worker’s 401k.

Local 12075 agreed to the Total Rewards program that Dow created for employee benefits. Workers will get one week of paid family caregiver leave along with other leave enhancements. The local also retained the right to bargain over benefits.

Both sides agreed to improve the job structure and training program.

“It was a disastrous training program,” Holsing said. “We had a jobs structure from 2004 that was cumbersome and involved a lengthy, years-long training program. Now, the job structure is more department-oriented, and the training program is appropriate for doing the job.

“Our job structure and pay levels mirror Dow East (Local 12934), which members wanted,” he said. Local 12075 represents workers at Dow West.

Holsing said it took about a month to negotiate the agreement, which begins Feb. 10, 2022 and expires Feb. 10, 2026, and covers about 60 operations, logistics and analytical department workers. He credited having a union for pushing back against Dow’s changes.

“Our members had a voice at the table to push back on the company’s changes, initiate new language and pursue positions that we would not have been able to achieve had we been a non-union facility,” Holsing said.

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