SCRIPT; yesterday members of SMART Local 565 concluded their strike with Trachte Building Systems in Sun Prairie . The strike began on Monday May 9th.
Labor radio spoke with Jesse Buell, Business Manager of SMART Local 565. We asked him to characterize the agreement.
TAPE: 30 seconds… enough for the membership to ratify”..
Labor radio asked if the strike was worth the sacrifice? Buell emphasized that the members were willing to fight for time with the family and in this day and age how crucial that is.
TAPE: 46 seconds …what they believed in””
Business manager Buell also emphasized how important support from the labor and Madison community was to the strikers.
TAPE: 38 seconds fed the line and all that.’
The strike also had a positive effect on the union. Buell explains:
TAPE: 24 seconds …getting involved now”
This strike may be the beginning of what may be a reinvigoration of the local, but also it is a message to the rest of the units in this local and maybe beyond, that workers are willing to fight to rebalance the work family relationship.
In other contract gains, workers won a five point three percent base wage increase; the hiring wage went from nineteen dollars per hour to twenty dollars per hour; there will be a general wage increase of 4% in the first year and 3.5% in the second year of this 23 month contract.
The company also agreed to a $200,000 skill recognition program. Individual members, depending on their skill level can receive up to 8.2% wage increase.
The vacation benefit for new hires was also improved- new hires can receive 2.5 additional days of vacation in their first year of employment.
Thanks to Jesse Buell, Business Manager of SMART Local 565, for this interview.
Reporting Courtesy of Frank Emspak for Labor Radio.
Image Courtesy of Greg Geboksi for Labor Radio