IAM Local 459 members recently ratified a new contract with Waterous Company that raises wages, gets the union time with new employees, increases shift differentials, and more.

The 150 IAM Local 459 members at Waterous Company in Saint Paul, Minn., manufacture fire hydrants, municipal water valves, and pump apparatus for fire trucks. Negotiations began on May 17, and a tentative agreement was reached on June 21.

“It was a strong negotiating committee, and the whole group was engaged, had t-shirts made, and members wore them every Friday in solidarity,” said District Lodge 77 Directing Business Representative John J. Steigauf. “They weren’t afraid to respectfully speak their minds and made sure the company knew our position. These successful negotiations were a team effort.”

The deal is a three-year contract with a nine percent wage increase in year one and three percent in years two and three. The second and third shifts each got increased shift differentials, and the company increased its contribution to members’ 401(k) and pension retirement funds.

The negotiating committee maintained its employee portion of their healthcare premium and eliminated the surcharge penalty for members who don’t complete a wellness check.

The new contract also establishes a 30-minute new-hire orientation for the steward to explain the union’s presence at the facility and how it is the union who bargained for their good wages and benefits.

Over the course of negotiations, eight IAM military veterans signed up with the IAM’s veterans assistance program and were able to get help with questions about Veterans Affairs. 

“This is a great contract for IAM Local 459 members,” said Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “Their engagement and visible display of solidarity throughout negotiations paid off. Their work is an example of what happens when a negotiating committee puts in the hard work. I commend DBR Steigauf  for leading this effort.”

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