Spokane-area Machinists improve pay and benefits

SPOKANE — Members of Machinists Union Local Lodge 86 working for three different Spokane-area employers have won significant wage increases in recent months, while maintaining health and retirement benefits.

Machinists working at a fourth employer were able to add a 401(k) benefit as well.

“Our members are hard-working and highly skilled specialists in high-demand fields,” said Jon Holden, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751. “The work they do for these employers is essential for the well-being of people across the Inland Northwest. These contracts recognize that and reward them for it.”

durhamnegsIn September, the technicians who maintain more than 200 buses that transport children to and from Spokane Public Schools approved a contract with their employer, Durham School Services.

Their three-year agreement provided “significant” wage increases, union representatives said. It also established a bonus pay program for mechanics who earn their Automotive Service Excellence (or ASE) certification.

Earlier in September, mechanics who maintain the trucks that deliver groceries to URM Stores outlets across the Inland Northwest approved a new five-year bargaining agreement.

That deal increased workers’ wages while maintaining their health and retirement benefits.

urmforaeroThe URM mechanics service a fleet of 60 trucks and 130 trailers that deliver food to the Rosauer’s, Yoke’s, Super 1, Harvest Foods and Family Foods grocery chains, as well as nearly 1,000 restaurants and convenience stores.

In addition, truck and facilities maintenance workers who run Spokane’s Safeway Distribution Center also ratified a new five-year contract, which included wage increases along with a company commitment to maintain pension benefits and caps on health-care cost increases.

Those workers maintain Safeway’s 289,000-square-foot warehouse in Spokane, along with trucks that stock more than 40 Safeway stores in Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Western Montana.

In addition to those contract wins, in August, truck mechanics working for Penske Truck Leasing in Spokane and Seattle agreed to a memorandum of understanding that gives them a 401(k) retirement plan.

Workers who have been with the company 90 days will be able to start contributing to the plan, and after one year, the company will start contributing as well, with automatic contributions equal to 1.5 percent of workers’ wages, plus a 50-percent match on employee contributions.

The average Machinist at Penske will see about $2,000 in company contributions to their retirement savings annually under the plan, union officers said.

“We have strong negotiating teams in Eastern Washington, led by Business Representative Steve Warren, with assistance from the union stewards who work in each shop,” Holden said. “Thanks to their hard work, our members are enjoying better pay and benefits.”

Originally formed in 1935 by hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents nearly 32,000 workers at 53 employers across Washington and California. In Eastern Washington, they are served by a network of local lodges that includes Local 86 in Spokane, Machinists Union Local Lodge 1123 in Coulee City and Machinists Union Local Lodge 1951 in Richland.

Think you’d be better off working under a union contract? Click here to talk to an IAM 751 representative about how to join the Machinists Union.






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