October 10, 2014
By Stephanie West
Washington, DC – International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 2069 members are on strike against Schneider Electric in Peru, Indiana. The workers began the walk-out on Sunday, October 5th. Rather than negotiate in good faith, the company has threatened to move work out of Indiana if the union does not accept their ‘last’ offer.
IAM members voted to reject the company’s final offer, which would have taken away a long-standing defined benefit pension plan. The rejected proposal had minimal wage increases to both tiers of the company's wage scale and included only minor adjustments to safety equipment and accident and sickness benefits. “Schneider Electric is trying to bully our members into giving up their defined benefit pension plan and a respectable retirement,” said IAM Director of Collective Bargaining Tom O’Heron. “Their approach is like the neighborhood bully, you have something you’ve earned and worked hard to get and they want to take it through threats and intimidation. This company also believes they can offer minimal wage increases to all employees. This is unacceptable to the membership and fails to address a growing concern for the members who are on a two-tier wage schedule. This minimal wage increase drives the gap between the two tiers even further apart.”
Despite Schneider’s claims of continuing to work with the union to get a fair contract, the company is not negotiating in good faith. “Schneider Electric has made no attempt to contact this union or return to the bargaining table,” said O’Heron. “Instead they’ve taken steps to move the work out of Indiana, which is a direct threat in our opinion.”
Schneider Electric recorded a profit of over $2.4 billion in 2013 while attempting to reduce the health and pension benefits to workers.
*** Founded in 1888, the IAM is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America, representing 600,000 active and retired members.