Member Solidarity Helps Local 6992 Beat Concessions, Gain Significant Wage Increases

When Local 6992 began bargaining their new contract at the DuPont Yerkes plant last September, the company came to the table with the same “pay simplification” proposal it had been pushing at its facilities across the country. 

However, the local, based in Buffalo, N.Y., saw the proposal for what it was: an attack on their benefits.

So the 325 members fought back, standing together in solidarity and engaging the community until they not only beat back the concessionary proposal, but won significant wage increases and other gains.

“When members found out what DuPont wanted to do, it fired them up,” Local 6992 President Angelle Gregoire said.

Members made their own shirts with solidarity messages. Every Tuesday and Friday the local did a t-shirt day, and “that was a big thing,” Gregoire said.

Workers put up signs throughout the plant, placed “Fair Contract Now” signs in their car windshields, leafletted the facility, and engaged in informational picketing. At every turn, management heard a clear, unified message.

“When we did rallies, half our membership came out and that was a big thing because typically we would not get a lot of members to turn out,” Gregoire said.

The local took to social media, reached out to local papers and leveraged their community connections to gain support for their contract fight.

“We started putting the community into our fight, and I think the solidarity of the membership and community helped a lot,” said Jim Briggs, District 4 Sub-District 1 director. “The company was seeing something they had never seen before, and I think the company believed this membership was setting up a plan to have a work stoppage if it did not move off its issues, and they started backing off.”

As a result, on March 22, members overwhelmingly ratified a strong contract that rejected the pay simplification proposal and raises wages 15 percent over the five-year term of the new agreement.

Other changes in the contract included making it easier to get double-time for the seventh day of work, improving the meal tickets and food allowance, and maintaining the payment of overtime for 12-hour shift workers who work over 36 hours a week.

“I think most of our people are happy with the wage increase,” Gregoire said. “It is one of the best we’ve gotten, and they are happy to have a five-year agreement.”

“Every time you have a good contract, you have a membership that is behind it, and that’s why we were successful,” she added.

Pictured: Members of Local 6992 at the DuPont Yerkes plant in Buffalo, N.Y., conduct an early morning informational picket during contract talks. Photos courtesy of LU 6992.

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