Norton Contract

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Connections 2003: First contract for Norton employees

Winter 2003

Local 853 is pleased to welcome 45 new members from Norton Manufacturing, a Hayward-based manufacturer of plastic pails. Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise credits Local 853 Organizer Jesse Casqueiro, who not only organized the unit, but also negotiated the first contract.

This was the second time that the workers came to Local 853 to seek representation. During the first election, the employer ran the traditional "ive us another chance" campaign and the workers bought into it. Just over a year later, the "another chance" meant layoffs out of seniority, no callbacks, use of agency employees while regular workers were laid off, and many other changes.

The workers had enough and in November, 2002, the group voted overwhelmingly for representation by Local 853. After the election, the company filed objections and refused to bargain. After months of waiting, the union notified the company that they planned to inform the c o m p a n y ís customers about Nortonís unwillingness to bargain in good faith. That tactic worked, and the company agreed to bargain.

After several more months, the union and Norton finally reached an agreement. The workers ratified their contract in October and became Local 853 members.

"Jesse did a great job in keeping the people together during the companyís delaying tactics. He figured out ways to undermine the companyís position and get them to bargain. He got the people a good contract." Aloise said.

The contract provides for almost a year of retroactivity in wage increases, improvements in job bidding, job protection, and recall language. The contract also included future wage increases and dealt with caps on future increases to health and welfare premiums.