About a week and a half ago, the union rejected the contractchanges the company wanted to make to the existing contract. Butunion members have another chance to vote Thursday and Friday.
It's titled "2009 CONTRACT CHANGE SUMMARY," 62 pages outliningmodifications to the contract between the union and MercuryMarine.
"Well there's no question that if an employer were trying tosave money in order to stay in a more competitive marketplace you'dlook precisely at the things Mercury Marine is looking at," saidRonald Pfeifer.
Pfeifer has been practicing labor and employment law for 35years, and routinely negotiates with unions on behalf of companies.FOX 11 asked Pfeifer to explain some of what's in these 62 pagesunion members will be voting on.
"Overtime eligibility, who'll get it, how it'll be handed out,how it'll be paid, that's changed. Vacations, reduced. Holidays,changed," explained Pfeifer.
Pfeifer says the pay scale for new employees, or laid offemployees returning to work, will also be changed. For example, atruck driver would currently be earning at least $20.95 an hour.But a new hire, or a laid off worker recalled after a certain datewould make, at the most, $16.50 for doing that job.
"So there's about a $5 an hour difference, spread over 2,080hours in a year, that's a fairly significant amount of money," saidPfeifer. It's a difference that adds up to more than $10,000 ayear.
There are other changes union employees will be considering.
"I think Mercury Marine has dug its heels in and tried to eitherreduce the amount it's paying and that would be for instance in,the employees are going to pay more for their group healthinsurance, pension apparently is going to be frozen so those arelosses for employees and the exchange for that is continued jobsthat'll remain in Fond du Lac," said Pfeifer.
And union members will decide if keeping a job, but with fewerbenefits is worth it.
"I suspect every Mercury Marine employee has to make thatjudgment for him or herself and it's probably a matter of opinionas to whether it's fair or unfair," said Pfeifer.
Changes outlined in 62 pages the union will accept or reject, ina move that will impact the company, the union, and thecommunity.
Pfeifer says the average union contract is one to three years.This one is supposed to be for seven years, although the company'smoves come during a four-year agreement reached just last year.
After Thursday's voting, the ballots will be taken by policeescort to the police department. Union officials say the countingwill begin right after the polls close Friday at 6 p.m., withresults expected later that evening.
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