IUE-CWA Haier Negotiations Updates

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.




Haier negotiating committee


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:  

AP Table:  The company, through plant and product manager presentations, outlined GEA’s competitive position across the full range of products manufactured at Appliance Park. The company similarly offered broad suggestions from a management perspective, on the type of changes needed at AP to make GAE more competitive. The key principles the Company continued to rely upon included cost competitiveness and the need for flexibility among the workforce.
The Union Committee responded noting that many of the economic and other production problems arise from management planning often inconsistent with both the realities of the market and the Company’s own internal costing projections, causing unnecessary changes and turmoil on work lines due to management’s shifting plans. The Union offered to partner with the Company toward saving jobs at AP, but needs an honest and willing partner in management open to listening to workers on the shop floors. Over the coming weeks we hope to test the sincerity of the company in building highly efficient worker – manager collaborations.   We also raised the importance of a respectful and professional work place which can help the development of the types of worker – management coalitions our collective futures as AP employees require.
Next week, a more detailed examination of GAE’s finances begins in conjunction with our Union accountant.
Weekly Update 8/26/16

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.

Update 8/30/2016

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.


Update 9/7/2016

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.

10/1/2016 — From the Service Table

 This week, the first week of actual negotiations, began with remarks from both sides. Rebecca Young the HR manager and chief negotiator for the company opened the negotiations with her opening statement which stated the goal of negotiations was to create the first ever national contract tailored to the factory service technicians. In her opening statement Rebecca made mention and recognized the unique skill set of our factory service members. Additionally, the company congratulated our members for their outstanding skills and dedication to the business and their customers. The Quality of Service to our customers is at a 94% national average. The best in the industry.  The CBC which is made up of six unions IUE, IBEW, IAM, Teamsters, Steamfitters and the UE, made their opening statements as well. All unions present expressed their desire to establish the first every national agreement between service technicians represented by the various Unions and GE Appliances a Haier company.  Union leadership present recognized the company’s need to be profitable and need to be competitive in an ever changing market. Wages and benefits will be forefront in these negotiations. Ray Graft and Rob Willy representing the company both gave presentations which outlined the state of the business as well as a look into Haier and a vision for the future. In both presentations a need for flexibility, competitiveness, and a simplified process was stressed.
Day 2  began with the Unions proposals surrounding 401k, possible IAM Taft Hartley multiemployer pension plan, and Healthcare. The company also gave the proposals regarding the business’ My Savings Plan proposal.
Day 3 we started contract language proposals with some long discussions around benefit time.
Day 4 The CBC gave the company the Union proposals along with a some detail as to the nature of the proposals.
The CBC and the company agreed to meet again the week of October 11th.

From the Service Table – October 16th.

Week 2 of negotiations started on October 11 with all the CBC leadership meeting to discuss the company’s proposals and strategy for the week.
Day 2: The Union kicked off the week with a presentation from IBEW Director Randy Middleton about Union Code of Excellence. GEA President and CEO, Chip Blankenship; VP of Human Resources, Tom Quick; and VP of Distribution & Services, Mark Shirkness, discussed their vision for the future with strong feelings on Haier’s entrepreneurial style of business.  Company leadership stressed that the ownership experience is the key to Haier’s success and will be the business model for GEA factory service going forward.  The rest of the morning and afternoon was spent discussing the company’s proposals surrounding contract language and benefit time.
Day 3: The day started with a presentation from the Teamsters health and life insurance provider as an alternative to GEA’s healthcare proposals. Jason Wilhite, from Tower Watson Co., gave an overview comparison of the IAM Pension Plan and the GEA “My Savings Plan.”  The rest of the day was spent on both the Union’s and Company’s proposals.
The Company and the Union agreed to continue with negotiations the week of October 31st. Local negotiations start Monday, October 17, and are scheduled to continue for the following two weeks.