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Union-Represented Sargent Workers In Connecticut OK ‘Historic’ Three-Year Contract That Keeps Health Benefits Intact & Provides Increases To Workers’ Pensions

Published Thursday, February 11, 2016

(NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT) – Union-represented Sargent/Assa Abloy Workers earlier this week voted 187-to-5 to approve a three-year contract that avoids a Strike and keeps Health Benefits intact.

“Awesome,” “A slam dunk” and “Historic.” - Those were the terms that Members of United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UERMWA) Local 243 used at a 6 a.m. meeting called to ratify the contract.  The current contract expires next month.  UERMWA Local 243 President Wayne Morrison informed Members who were present for the vote that Medical Costs “did not go up one brown penny.” Morrison reported.  The Local represents 265 Members and only those present at Monday’s (February 8th) meeting could vote.

Sargent/Assa Abloy representatives did not respond to a request for comment. The company makes keys, locks, tools, and scales for people around the world.

The new contract offers Workers, who currently average more than $20 an hour, a $1,500 Lump Sum Payment the first year, a 3% raise in year two, then a 2.5% raise in year three, Union Officials said.  Workers also held onto their current and full Medical, Dental and Prescription Benefits, and received a modest Pension boost.

Keeping the current Medical Benefits without increasing costs to Workers was by far the most important feature in the new contract, according to Sharon Riendeau and her friend Gina King who’ve been with the company for 35 and 27 years, respectively.  “We’re ‘ecstatic’ our medical is ‘unchanged,’” said King, who works in the bored locks department.

By terms of the old - and new - Contract, co-pays have run about $5 for an office visit.  The price of most prescriptions is also very modest, about $20.

Two dollars was added to the Pension Multiplier, bringing it to $40.  That means if you work at the company for 10 years and retire, the monthly pension benefit is $400.  There’s also no cap on years worked.

Former UE Local 243 President Ray Pompano, who passed the leadership on to Morrison in December after a national record-setting 31 years in the post, remained on the negotiating team this year, making this his 19th contract negotiation.

He said it was one of the most remarkably efficient negotiations because: “The company knew when they read an article in The New Haven Independent how much we wanted to keep our medical.  There was ‘no way’ this company was going to ‘move’ us.  All in all, it was because of the ‘reputation’ of Local 243 that we would ‘not back down.’”

Morrison said that the modestly-priced Medical Costs to Employees in the medical package were a “sacred cow.”

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