More than 750 members of IAM Local 623 in St. Cloud, MN overwhelmingly approved an “effects agreement” with Electrolux Home Products ahead of the company’s central Minnesota plant closing. The Swedish-based freezer and refrigerator manufacturer plans to shut its St. Cloud plant in late 2019/early 2020 and move production to a non-union facility in South Carolina, impacting more than 800 IAM workers and surrounding communities. The vote on the agreement was held on Sunday, March 28.
Under federal labor law, a unionized company has a duty to engage in effects bargaining when shutting down operations. The agreement approved by Local 623 members outlines new language, pay and severance benefits.
“The membership is very fortunate to have had an excellent Negotiating Committee during the process of these negotiations,” said IAM Local 623 Directing Business Representative Colleen Murphy-Cooney. “The Committee stood strong throughout the process demanding the company put a package on the table the membership deserved.”
Under the agreement, all full-time employees will receive a severance package based on their years of service. Workers will receive a $0.45/hour wage increase beginning immediately, and another $0.40 increase one year after ratification, along with the ability to maintain higher wage rates if forced into lower wage positions. Employees will receive three months of continued medical benefits from their last date of employment. In addition, the company and union will work together to help laid off employees access government programs, transition assistance, tuition assistance, training and other employment.
The IAMAW international office provided support, knowledge and assistance throughout the negotiating process.