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USW members at Follett Corporation ratify new labor pact


JULY 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

USW members at Follett Corporation ratify new labor pact


REGION, June 26th- The United Steelworkers Union (USW) Local 2599 members employed at Follett Corporation in Easton recently ratified a new four-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the company.

Local 2599, East Lehigh Street in Bethlehem, has approximately fourteen units of workers employed throughout the Lehigh Valley and has around 2,000 members. Local 2599 is one the largest labor organizations in the Lehigh Valley and once represented workers employed at Bethlehem Steel. The stacks of the steel mill can be seen from the union office building just several blocks away in Bethlehem.

The union once represented thousands of workers at the mill along with several other USW local unions that were merged into Local 2599 after the mill was closed in 2000.

The previous CBA between the company and the USW expired on May 3rd, 2015. The workers and the company agreed to work under the terms and conditions of the expired agreement while the parties continued to negotiate for a successor labor contract agreement.

According to Jerry Green, President of Local 2599, the parties agreed to work under the old CBA after the membership rejected managements “final contract offer”. Mr. Green stated the membership requested working under the terms and conditions of the expired CBA rather than striking and the company agreed to continue to met for contract negotiations.

After negotiation meetings continued Mr. Green stated contract proposals were slightly changed by Follett Corporation negotiating team and the USW membership ratified the new four-year pact.Highlights of the new CBA include a 2.25 percent wage increase each year for the first three years. The membership will receive a 2.50 percent increase in the fourth and final year of the new pact.

Also, workers will receive a $750.00 lump sum bonus in the first and fourth years of the agreement and a $500.00 lump sum bonus in the second and third years of the pact.

Prescription safety glasses and shoe allowances have been increased. Also retiree life insurance was increased to $10,000.00.

Mr. Green told the newspaper all raises are retro-active and the new CBA was overwhelmingly approved by the membership.