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Hourly workers at DowDuPont to vote on contract

Workers at the DowDuPont Yerkes plant in the Town of Tonawanda will vote Sept. 22 on a tentative four-year contract.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 6992 and DowDuPont have been working to reach a new deal since a one-month contract extension expired in July. The plant makes Corian, which is used in tabletops and other applications, and Tedlar, a thin film used in applications like solar panels.

"I believe it is a good deal for the membership of USW Local 6992 and the plant," said Gary Guralny, president of Local 6992.

A summary said the deal calls for a 3 percent signing bonus, a 1.5 percent wage increase each of the four years, and new wage rates on some jobs for new employees, but not current employees.

"I'm pleased by the collaborative process that's been under way to gain alignment between the union's executive board and members of our labor contract," said Warren Hoy, the plant manager. "I feel we have come to a good place and look forward to ratification next week." 

The union represents more than 320 hourly workers at the plant. The contract talks drew wider attention when a worker discovered a notebook, which a manager had brought to bargaining sessions, that contained a series of crude drawings ridiculing unionized workers as lazy and greedy. Another drawing depicted someone blowing up the plant.

Hoy condemned the drawings, and a union official said two managers who were on the bargaining team were fired. The rest of management's bargaining team was replaced.

While negotiations were underway, Dow Chemical and DuPont merged to form DowDuPont. Long-range plans call for DowDuPont to spin off into three independent companies, with the Tonawanda site joining a specialty products company.

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