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    Saturday, July 13, 2024

    Machinists’ union at Davis-Standard ratifies 3-year contract providing 15% wage hikes

    Stonington ― Unionized workers at Davis-Standard, the global manufacturer headquartered in Pawcatuck, have ratified a new three-year contract that will provide salary increases totaling 15%, including 7.5% in the first year.

    Jeremy Emard, president and chief steward of Local 2705 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, called the increases “record-breaking” and “historic,” and said Wednesday the contract’s favorable terms reflect Davis-Standard's interest in competing for some of the same workers Electric Boat is pursuing.

    Emard said Davis-Standard has lost workers to EB, the Groton submarine-maker that has sought to hire thousands of employees this year.

    In October, members of the Metal Trades Council, the union representing more than 3,400 shipyard workers at EB, ratified a new five-year contract providing wage hikes totaling 21.4%.

    The machinists’ union at Davis-Standard voted Tuesday to ratify a tentative agreement reached last week between negotiating teams for the union and Davis-Standard management. Members voted 96-33 in favor of the agreement, a ratio of nearly 3 to 1.

    About 59% of the local’s 218 members voted.

    “We are thrilled to announce the successful ratification of our contract with IAMAW Local 2705,” Jeanine Reckdenwald, Davis-Standard's chief human resources officer, said in a statement. “This mutually beneficial agreement reflects our commitment to a positive and collaborative relationship, ensuring a great future for both parties. … As we move forward, we are also focused on investing in and developing the workforce of the future, ensuring sustained success and innovation in our community."

    Emard said Gamut Capital, the investment firm that bought Davis-Standard from another investment firm two years ago, has taken steps to bolster Davis-Standard's business and workforce.

    “It’s very encouraging what they’ve been doing,” he said. “They’ve shown a real willingness to improve the company and make us a leader …"

    Davis-Standard, which employs 411 union and nonunion workers at its Pawcatuck plant, makes plastic extruding equipment used in the packaging and infrastructure sectors and provides extrusion technology for the automotive, building and medical industries. In the extrusion process, raw plastic pellets are liquified and turned into solid shapes.

    Last month, Davis-Standard announced it had reached an agreement to acquire the Extrusion Technology Group ― described in a press release as “a well-established player in the global extrusion equipment and services sector” ― from a Dutch investor.

    “It will make us a billion-dollar company. It’s very promising,” Emard said of the acquisition.

    Local 2705’s new contract will take effect Dec. 10, the day after its current three-year contract expires. The current contract provided for annual salary increases of 0%, 2% and 2.5%. Over the past five years, increases have averaged 1.5% a year, according to Emard.

    The new contract also provides significant increases in short-term disability payments and restores some terms that had been withdrawn in a previous contract, including “double-time” pay for overtime hours and base-rate differentials of 7% and 12% for hours worked on the second and third shifts, respectively.

    Union members will now qualify for four weeks of vacation a year after 12 years of employment, instead of the previous 15 years, and those with the necessary experience will be eligible for an “instructor incentive” of 10% of their base rate to train inexperienced employees.

    All union members, regardless of whether they voted to approve the new contract, will get a “ratification bonus” of $500, Emard said.


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