After two days of bargaining the Machinists and Swedwood management in Danville agreed on language covering the issues of training, technology, and uniform policy.
Given the rapid pace of technological change in today’s workplace, having policies in place that protect workers and at the same time ensure that employers have the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed in the workforce make this proposal a win-win. Prior to the introduction of new technology, the parties will identify the new skills needed and put in place training programs to upskill the workers who will be working on the new equipment.
The other Tentative Agreement signed addresss the issue of uniforms. During the tense and confrontational election campaign, the issues of uniforms became a symbol of many of the issues that lead workers to form a union and join the IAM. The newly agreed uniform policy will unite all departments in the same uniform and most importantly during those months when temperatures inside become especially hot, climate appropriate changes will be allowed. In addition the new uniform policy permits workers to upgrade to other options approved by the employer at the workers own costs.
While it may seem like a small item, the symbolism of the company and the workers being able to agree to these changes will not only have a positive visual impact on the work site but it is another example of the progress being made at the bargaining table by both parties.