2016 Haier Negotiations
(Scroll down for updates!)
August 16th, 2016:
IUE-CWA Local 83761 members at Appliance Park are gearing up for bargaining with China-based Qingdao Haier Co. Haier bought the GE Appliance operation, closing on the $5.4 billion deal in June. This will be the first contract negotiations since the sale. Bargaining begins today in Louisville, Kentucky, and is expected to last through most of September. Running concurrently in separate locations will be the main Appliance Park table, with IUE-CWA National and Local bargainers, and the Appliance Service bargaining table, with coordinated bargaining by IUE, IBEW, IAM, UAW, and UE.
IUE-CWA President Clark attends the opening of Haier Negotiations in Louisville, KY on Tuesday August 16th. President Clark appointed IUE-CWA Lead Counsel Kenneth Page to Chair the bargaining. President Clark assured the committee that any resources or experts needed to bring this agreeement to a satisfactory outcome will be provided by IUE-CWA.
Appliance Repair Table: Bottom from right to left ..Regis P. Ryan UA, Randy Middleton IBEW, Roy Reynolds UBT, and Scott Zillig IBEW. Top from right to left . Lance Bergmann IUE-CWA, Tom Van Kirk UA, John Thompson UE, and Craig Norman IAM.
Weekly Update 8/19/16:
As the company made detailed presentations regarding its financial position across the different appliance markets, the Union bargaining committee responded with sharp and pointed questions, while assigning a fuller review of the company’s numbers to the union accountant who joined the committee for the entire week.
The company also claimed that based on these numbers, Haier’s (GAE) other U.S based manufacturing facilities, along with those connected with Mabe, in Mexico, were more profitable than Appliance Parl. A fair review of the numbers seems to indicate that there are both Union and management-based opportunities to improve productivity at Appliance Park.
Further, the company made clear that the results of bargaining will impact the long term future of all 7000 Louisville based employees. The union committee has indicated it’s intention to work to save jobs, but communicated clearly that management and the other non-bargaining unit employees must also contribute to productivity and cost improvements.
The Company responded to the Union’s concern about respect in the work place from managers and supervisors — with a promise to inform and train if necessary all bosses to understand the importance that respect plays in a content and productive work force. The Union hopes to see these changes in behavior on the shop floor as we continue to bargain.
During Bargaining on Tuesday, the Union expressed its deep concern about Management’s decision to announce its outsourcing of the warehouse jobs
without allowing that decision to be more fully discussed at the bargaining table. The union suspended bargaining until next week, offering
the following proposals prior to re-engaging next week.
1) that management instruct shop floor level supervisors and managers to treat union employees with respect and professionalism.
2) that the company agree to make the final decision of the warehouse part of negotiations.
The Union and Company met at the bargaining table again this week after the Company agreed to negotiate further regarding final decisions around outsourcing the warehouse jobs. GEA made no promises on what would ultimately happen with those jobs, but your Committee did win the opportunity to continue to fight for those important positions within the warehouse.
Similarly, the company agreed to communicate with all levels of management and supervision detailing the importance of respect and dignity on the job as the committee raised this concern as we walked away from the table last week. During this time it is important that we continue to also be of the highest character as we go about our day to day work and to calmly and professionally give the bosses an example to follow. However, please report to your stewards any offensive treatment on the shop floors as management has agreed to fairly respond to specific examples of management mistreatment.
As many of you know, from the company’s own literature — they are claiming the need for many economic and work place changes toward helping them be more competitive in the difficult appliances market. During our exchanges of information, we continue to ask for accounting information to help the Union objectively measure and respond responsibly to these claims. As we further exam and receive these details, we will begin to make our own counter-proposals.
We are approaching the most difficult and sensitive part of bargaining. The company has turned over almost all of their non-economic proposals and we have debated and argued the details of these proposals at the the bargaining table. Many of these proposals focus on changes the unionized work force must make. The committee has consistently pushed back, arguing that we also want to institutionalize changes within GEA leadership so that many of the failing management decisions don’t cost us all down the road. The expression from President Crittenden has been: “Show us where management has skin in the game.”
The new owners have pushed the need for an urgent increase in profitability message to the GEA management team, and the committee is witnessing those pressures at the bargaining table. Nonetheless, The bargaining committee remains committed to maintaining the jobs at Appliance Park in a manner that allows our Union to continue to support their families with dignity and respect.
Over the next two weeks the Committee will have a better sense of the framework for a possible agreement as the company will be making their economic and health benefit proposals over that time. The tone and tenor of negotiations can and likely will change day to day, but we will do our best to keep you updated as we move toward the most important parts of the process of trying to reach an agreement .
Conference Board Chairman Bob Santamoor has returned from sick leave and has assumed responsibility for the Haier negotiations. Any and all inquiries should go through the Local or Conference Board Office. IUE-CWA Attorney Ken Page has been promoted to IUE-CWA General Counsel and has returned to Dayton HQ to assume the responsibilities of that position. President Clark and IUE-CWA Division will offer any professional resources that the Conference Board and the Local need to complete the negotiations.