PITTSBURGH - The United Steelworkers (USW) announced Tuesday that a new five-year Labor Agreement covering approximately 900 workers at Rexam Beverage Can North America Co. was ratified over the weekend.
The new agreement covers all nine striking locations, ending work stoppages that began April 10.
“Our membership felt their backs were to the wall but stood up to the company’s attempt to shift an unfair burden of health care costs onto the backs of employees and retirees,” said USW International Vice President Fred Redmond, chief negotiator for the union. “The agreement restores health care for future retirees, maintains a good insurance package for active employees, increases pensions and wages,” he said.
The new contract provides for a $1,500 signing bonus and a two percent wage increase in the first year; a $1,000 lump sum payment in year two; a two percent wage increase in year three; a $1,000 lump sum payment in year four; a two percent wage increase in year five and the continuation of quarterly cost-of-living adjustments with annual roll-ins. The pension multipliers are improved for all current employees as well.
The contract requires Rexam to provide a retiree benefit program for all future retirees through age 65, and thereafter, a monthly stipend intended to provide assistance for the purchase of a "Medi-gap" benefit.
While Rexam’s Valparaiso, Ind., plant is not included in the Master Agreement, the company has committed to improve pensions.
When the contract expired on Feb. 24, USW members continued working under contract extensions until they began unfair labor practice strikes on April 10.