Janesville57.3°

LSI ratifies contract

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JAMES P. LEUTE
October 8, 2007

It took nearly six months and a federal mediator, but workers at LSI in Janesville finally have a three-year contract.


Nearly 94 percent of the 235 workers represented by United Auto Workers Local 95 ratified the contract Friday. The mediator helped Local 95 and company officials reach the new deal Sept. 27.


LSI delivers parts to the local General Motors assembly plant in Janesville.


The two sides reached a tentative agreement in April that was overwhelmingly rejected. That deal called for no signing bonus and wage increases of 3.5 percent in the contract’s first year, 3.5 percent in the second and 3 percent in the final year.


After deductibles were met, LSI would have paid for 90 percent of health care costs while the employees paid 10 percent. The contract also included out-of-pocket maximums.


Health insurance was the biggest factor in the rejection of the first agreement, said Chuck Huhn, second vice president of Local 95.


“With their wage structure, out of pockets and yearly deductibles, they just felt it wasn’t enough,” Huhn said.


The new contract calls for 100 percent of health care costs to be paid by LSI. Employees will make office visit co-payments of $15, with other co-pays depending upon the service. There will be no deductibles or out-of-pocket maximums.


The wage increase remains the same, and it’s retroactive to March 22. Workers also will get a $1,000 signing bonus.


Wages at LSI typically range between $10 and $15, with drivers earning more than warehouse workers.


The wages paid to LSI employees was also a point of contention this summer, as several LSI workers felt they should be paid the same as workers at Lear Corp., a UAW-represented company in Janesville that supplies the GM plant with seating systems.


Wages at Lear typically run between $15 and $20 per hour, depending on the job. UAW contracts with LSI and Lear are negotiated independently because each of the companies has different agreements with GM.


“I know they would have liked higher wages, but when compared to the prevailing wage for the type of work they do, they’re right in the ballpark,” Huhn said.



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