Building and Wood
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On December 17, 2011 in Danville, Virginia, the workers at the Swedwood plant in Danville voted to accept their first collective bargaining agreement which would go into effect on January 1, 2012. After a long three year struggle 76% of the workers voted in July to join the international Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, an affiliate of BWI.
“Last year the BWI launched a global campaign to support the Sweedwood workers in Danville their right to decent work, justice, and a voice in the work place, and today, we can finally celebrate the workers decision to vote for a union as they have their first collective bargaining agreement. Although the road to achieving this victory was not easy the persistence of the workers has paid off. The BWI congratulates the workers in their efforts,” stated Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI.
According to the Machinists, the new agreement would limite the number of temporary workers that can be hired and would require them to undertake safety training before they actually enter the plant. It provides for a grievance process that is based on due process adjust cause. As of January workers will be guaranteed access to a union steward and requires the parties to apply work rules equally to all workers as well as provide binding arbitration by mutually agreed upon neutral third party should the union and the company be unable to resolve work rule issues. The new contract will provide workers with a three-fold increase in vacation days as well as maintain existing holidays. The point system which was viewed as punitive to workers or their family members who get sick has been modified.
In addition three joint Labour Management Cooperation Committees---the Joint Health and Safety Committee, the Maintenance Committee, and the Training Committee has been established.
According to Bill Street, Director of Wood Workers Department for the IAMAW, “the establishment of these committees is based on the concept of “Social Dialogue” which is an important part Swedish labour relations. These three cooperative committees are the first steps towards social dialogue in Swedwood.”
The BWI-led international campaign to for the Danville workers at the Swedwood plant in Danville was supported by a broad network of global trade unions,social partners, and 120,000 workers.