Stronger Together – IP 2022 Contract Updates

Tuesday, August 2 - Bargaining Bulletin #5


We are extremely pleased that the company and United Steelworkers Union Local 3298 entered into a new collective bargaining agreement effective August 1, 2022. The terms were ratified by the bargaining unit at a vote conducted Saturday, July 30. We appreciate the hard work of the negotiating teams to come to an agreement.
 
We look forward to working together to drive continuous improvement and Lean manufacturing, making the Seneca Falls operations a great success now and into the future. Together, we can create long-term opportunities for our employees, the community and the company!
 

Thursday, July 28 - Bargaining Bulletin #4

 

The Company and Union bargaining teams had a productive session Wednesday with both sides making important moves toward reaching a full agreement. The Union presented its comprehensive proposal mid-day, the Company responded with a full proposal yesterday evening, then Union provided a comprehensive counterproposal late that night. The bargaining teams worked past 10 PM, worked hard to close gaps, and have continued bargaining throughout the day today.
 
The Company and the Union have been able to reach agreement on a number of additional proposals, including:

  • •  Workplace Safety. The establishment of a 20-hour per week Union Safety Committee Chair who will work with the Company to identify and correct potential workplace hazards and language designed to deter risky behaviors that can lead to death or serious bodily injury.
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  • •  Productivity Incentives. The opportunity to provide additional compensation to departments or job classifications reaching designated performance, safety, efficiency, and other goals. 
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  • •  Retention Bonus for Foundry Employees. A monthly $500 retention bonus for employees continuing to work at the Foundry for each month they work at the Foundry while those operations wind down.
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The parties also continued to narrow the number of open issues, with both sides withdrawing proposals. The parties also worked diligently to try to find common ground on Health Benefits, Vacation, and Attendance policies. Gaps remain, but the parties have put strong efforts into further narrowing those gaps including:

  • •  To try to help close on Attendance, the Company offered an enhanced Perfect Attendance Bonus under which employees would be eligible for up to $750 in bonus money each year. 
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  • •  The parties also discussed 6 guaranteed Saturdays off for employees each fiscal quarter.
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  • •  While the Company had proposed a good health benefit plan, with expanded national coverage, we understand employees were more comfortable with the current health plan for active employees. Accordingly, we have proposed keeping employees on that current plan.
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Differences also remain on wages, but both sides made movements, and the Company has now proposed a first-year wage increase that exceeds that of the last contract, which is 3.5%, and a ratification bonus that matches that of the last contract, which is $1,500. Collectively, these amount to first-year compensation 6.2% higher than current compensation. This first-year increase compares favorably to the median first-year wage and lump sum increases across all manufacturing contracts reached during the first half of 2022 (5.5%) as compiled by Bloomberg. Negotiations on these, and other, wage provisions continue, and we remain confident that we can reach terms that are competitive, reward our employees for all of their many contributions, and allow the Company to remain competitive in the industry.
 
Finally, the parties each have identified a few critical issues. For the Union these include maintenance (or enhancement) of the Plant Closing side letter and its severance terms; and the maintenance (or enhancement) of the payments to employees opting out of the health plan. For the Company, these include greater flexibility to move employees across focus factories based upon operational needs; and the embracement of Lean trainings and Lean initiatives. Both sides have made clear to the other that resolving these issues satisfactorily will be essential to reaching a deal.
 
Again, good progress was made over the course of a very long bargaining day.  We expect today to be just as long as we continue discussions this evening. But, between today and tomorrow, we remain optimistic we will reach an agreement this week that works for all our employees and our business and that the parties can do so before the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires Saturday night.


Wednesday, July 27 - Bargaining Bulletin #3

 

On Tuesday, July 26, the Company and Union bargaining teams continued their negotiations.
 
The Union responded verbally to a number of proposals that the Company had given to the Union on Monday evening and withdrew three of its proposals on: 401(k) contribution increases; the addition of Columbus Day and Veteran’s Day as holidays; and significant expansion of the time period for recall rights.  The Company expected to receive a written response from the Union on Tuesday, and the Union committed to providing that comprehensive written response today (Wednesday, July 27).
 
In addition to the main meeting, the Company and the Union had a series of small meetings throughout the day on safety issues, classification issues, wage concerns, and workplace flexibility.  In an effort to make the next bargaining session as efficient and productive as possible, the Company worked late into the night on materials to assist in preparing its next proposal. 
 
As we have shared at the table, increasing the efficiency of our operations – including increased attendance, reduced overtime and improving operational flexibility – is critical to our long-term health as a company and to our sustainability here in Seneca Falls.  With continued hard work and compromise on both sides, we remain optimistic we will reach an agreement this week that works for all of our employees and our business.
 
We look forward to receiving the Union’s counterproposal – and responding to it -- today and to providing a broader and more detailed bargaining update tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 26 - Bargaining Bulletin #2

 

The Company and Union bargaining teams met again yesterday for continued contract negotiations. The parties worked all day, concluding negotiations around 7:00 p.m. As part of our continued commitment to keep you updated on bargaining developments, we wanted to share a few details.
 
The Union started the day off by sharing its initial comprehensive proposal. The Company had previously shared its comprehensive proposal on July 19th, and all proposals should now be on the table. While a number of gaps remain, the parties made progress and resolved some initial issues:

  • •  The parties reached a tentative understanding to allow former bargaining unit retirees the opportunity to temporarily fill vacancies that no current employees have bid for. 
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  • •  In an effort to narrow the number of open issues, the Company withdrew two proposals.
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  • •  The parties resolved three proposals addressing cleaning up dormant contract language and updating dates of certain contract provisions (Preamble, Termination Date and Side Letter on Out of Department Overtime).
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The Company also responded to several of the Union’s proposals. 

  • •  The Union shared its opening wage proposal. In response, we shared that SFO union wages are currently 11% above the regional market average before any increases. That said, we increased our proposed wage increases for each year of the contract.
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  • •  The Company added 4 hours of paid time (now 20 additional hours of paid time total) to our proposal on Vacation and PTO, in exchange for the elimination of unpaid days and the addition of earlier time off notification to ensure better planning and continuity of production. 
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  • •  The Company also added these 4 hours to the bundle of hours (again, 20 total) that can be cashed out at time-and-a-quarter (1.25) if unused at year end.
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  • •  As part of that modification, the Company revised its Vacation and PTO proposal to provide for 8 hours of paid “Short Time Off” (“STO”) that employees can use one-hour at a time.
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  • •  The Company modified its attendance proposal to provide a warning after an employee has exhausted his or her 56 hours of PTO/STO.
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  • •  The Company also modified the proposal on flexibility to clarify and clear up concerns that it would require employees to work alternative shifts or in jobs outside of their current classification. For any such request, the company still intends to seek agreement.
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The parties have also continued to exchange information and discuss the Company’s proposed changes to the Health Benefits for both active and retired employees; changes we believe provide a combination of strong coverage and year-over-year cost containment. We are looking forward to receiving the Union’s counterproposal soon.
 
As noted, while some significant differences remain, progress continues to be made. We continue to believe that with additional negotiation, compromise, and movement by both sides at the table, we can reach a full agreement by week’s end.
 

Wednesday, July 20 - Bargaining Bulletin #1

The Company and Union bargaining teams met Tuesday for our first day of successor contract negotiations. The parties had a productive and collaborative session, and we appreciated the work both sides put into the discussions. As promised, we plan to keep you updated on developments and progress from negotiations.

After introductions, the Company presented an overview of the business, our operations and the competitive market we face. As part of the Company’s presentation, we confirmed a number of commitments:
  • •  We are committed to our people. We want to continue to pay competitive market wages and offer a strong benefits package to our employees.  
  • •  We are committed to our community. We want to ensure that the plant and the many jobs it provides to the Seneca Falls community are durable and sustainable for the long-term.
  • •  We are committed to securing in this contract the operational flexibility that will allow us to meet these commitments to our people and community. A partnership and commitment to Lean processes are key to ensuring our future success.
The Company next presented a comprehensive proposal for a new contract. We believe it is a solid starting point both economically and operationally.  
 

Economic highlights include:

✓ Above Market Wages:

  • •  A first-year wage increase double that offered in the Company’s opening proposal in the last round of negotiations.
  • •  Our opening wage proposal keeps our employees’ wages well above the regional average.
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✓ Greater Cost Certainty on Health Premiums for Current Employees:

  • •  The proposed plan offers comparable benefits to our employees in a plan with a history of far smaller annual increases. Our union employees in Lancaster have embraced this proposed plan.

✓ Reduced Health Premiums for Pre-65 Retirees:

  • •  The proposed plan to move retirees to the New York health exchange offers comparable coverage to our retirees and can save them hundreds of dollars each month in premiums. These plans also offer dental coverage which is not currently included.

✓ Improved Vision and Dental Coverage for Current Employees.

 

Operational highlights include:


✓ Two Additional Paid Days Off, as part of our proposal on Vacation and PTO, in exchange for the elimination of unpaid days and earlier time off notification to ensure better planning and continuity of production.

✓ Attendance Incentives. Added ability to cash out the two additional PTO days at time-and-a-quarter (1.25) if unused at year’s end.

✓ Retiree Staffing. The Company proposed the ability to offer bargaining unit retirees the opportunity to temporarily fill vacancies that no current employees have bid for.

✓ Advancement of Lean Initiative. Ability to move forward with Lean training and activities to improve output and efficiencies and to have qualified employees work across Focus Factories.

✓ Potential Productivity Incentives that, if met, would result in additional compensation.  

These enhancements were all part of the Company’s opening proposal. We recognize there will be additional back and forth but we believe it is a very good opening offer. Informal discussions are continuing and we look forward to returning to the table next Monday and working towards a successful contract throughout the week.
 

Monday, July 18 – Welcome Message

As part of a planned process, negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between ITT Goulds Pumps and United Steel Workers (USW) Union Local 3298 will begin on July 19. Our current agreement expires at the end of the month.

We look forward to strengthening our relationship with USW Local 3298. We will be bargaining in good faith towards a contract that provides our employees with highly competitive wages and benefits while supporting our business with the operational efficiencies and flexibility we need to compete in today’s marketplace. 

We are committed to keeping lines of communications open and will periodically provide updates on the progress and developments at the bargaining table. To help share information, we have launched this website – Stronger Together/IP Contract Updates. Also, we will monitor our IP HR e-mail and do our best to address questions we receive in a Q&A section on this website.
 
Thank you and we look forward to continuing to work with you to shape and grow our business.

Dave Steblein, President, Industrial Process   
James Buller, Vice President/GM Americas, Industrial Process
Autumn Gagarinas, Vice President Human Resources, Industrial Process
 

Q&A

 
Updated: Tuesday July 26 

Q: If a contract is rejected do we (non-union) come to work?
A: If the Union rejects the Company’s proposal and elects to strike, we will implement our business continuity plan. All non-union employees are expected to continue working, but some will be working on-site and others will be working remotely. Managers are reaching out directly to individuals who may be working on-site. If needed, we will send an email to non-union employees with next steps, policies and procedures on how to proceed for both working on-site and remotely.

Q: If we do come to work, where do we park?  Will our personal property be secure?
A: In the event of a strike, we will e-mail details of our business continuity plan which will explain the process for working on-site. Safety is always our priority and we have added extra security services to ensure your safety.  

Q: Can non-union employees associate with family members in the union outside of work?
A: Absolutely. We are proud of our IP team and community and this should not be impacted by our contract discussions. We do, however, expect all our employees always to comply with our Code of Conduct guidelines, including those outlining sharing confidential information. As we work in good faith to come to an agreement, we are committed to keeping you updated on bargaining developments through our website Stronger Together Contract Updates. You also can continue to ask questions through our IP HR email and we’ll do our best to answer.

Q: What do I do if a media person asks a question to me?
A: Please direct media inquiries to ITT Communications. A great way to respond would be to  say, " I would like to help you. Our company requires that all media requests be sent to our communications department, so I’ll need to pass your request onto them.”  Please gather their name, phone number and e-mail address and send it to the Communications:  Kellie Harris (914-216-4025). 

 
Updated: Wednesday July 20
 
Q: What are the key issues under discussion during the negotiations?
A: As IP continues to shape its business to support our future growth with a presence in North America, the critical focus is how we and the union can engage to implement and continue improvements and lean initiatives. This cooperation is integral to the success of the organization and critical to our discussions.

Q: What is the company proposing and why?
A:   IP is offering a competitive wage and benefits package that is equal to or above industry average in comparable roles. In return, we are looking to the union to adopt more flexible policies that align with industry standards such as reducing unscheduled absenteeism and equalizing which employees have overtime opportunities and when.
 
Q: Why won’t the parties renew the current contract?
A: We are transforming our IP business to build new global growth opportunities in the future. Part of that process means adjusting our business to consistently strengthen our competitive position and how we serve our customers.
 
Q: How long will it take for the company and the union to agree on a new contract?
A: Initial conversations with the union began July 14 and will proceed until the union votes to approve a new contract. Our hope is to reach an agreement by the end of July. However, we will continue to negotiate in good faith until we reach an agreement.
 
Q: What’s the likelihood the union membership will vote to strike?
A: We can’t speculate about that but can tell you that IP will bargain in good faith with goal of reaching an agreement that is fair for our employees and supports our long-term business objectives.
 
Q: Will manufacturing facilities continue to operate if Union membership votes to strike?
A: Yes. To avoid business disruption, IP will execute its plans for continued production to be supported by other company locations and by contractors, including those of our distribution partners.