On April 28th, Local 104 (Seattle) and trade union workers from nine other union crafts, represented by the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department, voted to approve a 3-year agreement with Vigor Industrial. The master agreement will cover members from the Boilermakers, IBEW, Laborers, Machinists, Painters, Sheet Metal Workers, Pipefitters, Teamsters and Operating Engineers employed at Vigor Industrial subsidiaries: Vigor Marine, Vigor Shipyards, Cascade General, Washington Marine Repair and Everett Shipyard. The contract passed with a 70% approval rating.
“The union’s efforts to keep membership informed of the developments in bargaining, the memberships’ involvement in regular solidarity exercises during negotiations and their collective willingness to take economic action when the employer wasn’t willing to move beyond what members felt was an unreasonable offer, were all key aspects to us achieving the most progressive contract advances for this CBA to date,” said Local 104 BM-ST Steve Behling.
Behling said some of the progressive changes stem from negotiating for improved work language in many areas. “We were able to negotiate improved language on subcontracting for transparency and gaining more work for our members, overtime, dirty work, safety committee grievance, training, improved labor/management committee and an increase for supervisors of $0.25/hour.”
President James Hart of the Metal Trades Department praised the Metal Trades Council for sitting at the bargaining table against a difficult opponent.
“[The Metal Trades Council] is a skilled bargaining team that negotiated against a very rigorous negotiating group,” said President Hart.
President Hart described the solidarity conveyed among the trades’ union members as they chose to band together.
He said, “it was a skeptical workforce that, over time, became workers who would not give in until they reached their goals.”
And reached their goals, they did. “The raises are $1.25 on ratification, plus a retroactive bonus of $4.94 for each hour worked between Dec 1, 2021 - Apr 10, 2022, $1.30 raise on Dec 1, 2022, and $1.30 on Dec 1, 2023, which equates to an average increase for each classification of 13.42% over 3 years,” said Behling.