VAN WERT — After more than two weeks on the picket line, the United Steelworkers union and Federal-Mogul Corp. have reached a contract agreement.
The contract, which was agreed to by both parties Wednesday, followed a 17-day strike among 333 employees who were represented by United Steelworkers union Local 14742. Reggie Shaw, staff representative for United Steelworkers, said employees returned to work at 11 p.m. Wednesday.
“We met with the company and we were able to settle our differences,” Shaw said. “We think we reached a fair and equitable contract that will benefit our members and our retirees.”
Shaw said several proposals the company made during the initial contract discussion were reworked. A freeze in the defined pensions of Federal-Mogul employees was removed, as was an exclusion of company health insurance for the spouses of many workers. In addition, second-tier employees — those who were hired after a certain date — were given a wage increase and the opportunity to become first-tier employees.
“We were finally able to reach a resolution on these outstanding issues,” said Shaw, who added that the two sides met four or five times before an agreement was reached. “The process worked itself out.”
The contract dispute and subsequent strike also occurred three years ago during the last round of negotiations. In November 2013, nearly 400 union members picketed as a result of the dispute. An agreement with the company was reached just one day later.
Shaw said there were a couple of reasons why this year’s strike took longer than last time.
“The holidays were in there, but also because the issues that were still on the table were very important to our members,” he said.
The contract between Federal-Mogul and the United Steelworkers union will remain in effect until 2020.
Federal-Mogul is a global manufacturer of non-discretionary parts for automobiles, light trucks, heavy trucks and farm and construction vehicles. The Van Wert facility manufactures seals for the heavy duty and industrial marketplace, with a focus on oil bath seals and railroad seals.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima