Local 13028 bargains wage increases, stronger health and safety language in latest contract

Members of Local 13028 in Newark, Del., remained steadfast during negotiations with International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. in order to achieve their victory of a new, stronger collective bargaining agreement. 

The group of 57 chemical facility workers ratified their latest three-year contract the week of October 10 and were able to bargain significant improvements in areas from wages to health and safety.

The bargaining team began negotiating with management in mid-August and was met immediately with pushback from the employer. IFF aimed to eliminate the contract’s PAC contribution clause and weaken language regarding the overall security of the union and its ability to file grievances.

Members voted down the first and second contracts. Local 13028 President Bob Davis said these offers were a slap in the face, and the workers knew it.

“They tried to intimidate us and, in some ways, I think they were trying to bust the union,” said Local 13028 President Bob Davis. “But the membership stood strong the whole time.”

The local’s solidarity allowed the bargaining team to win major wage increases, with some workers receiving as high as a 16.5-percent raise over the life of the agreement. The local union also now has comprehensive health and safety language that prioritizes communication and workers’ involvement.

IFF is also looking to send a member of management to the next USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference, something Davis said has never happened before. “That’s a really good step forward,” he said.

The members stayed connected and energized throughout bargaining via hard-hat sticker days and practice picketing to display their strength and commitment.

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