Cement Solidarity Call


The joint conference of the USW/Lehigh BIG 4 met with the company on
March 8th and 9th in Louisville, KY in the hopes of reaching a tentative
agreement. As you likely know by now—this goal was not achieved—
instead we have an offer the company calls its “Last Best Final Offer”.
We informed Lehigh’s negotiators that each local would vote on this
offer before the end of April.

Our committee took the level-headed position that we needed significant
improvements to the now expiring contracts. Our membership deserves
nothing less—especially when you consider the increasing profitability
of Lehigh and Heidelberg Cement in an industry that is clearly on
the upswing.

The key issues never wavered from the beginning of this process back in
August—health care costs, wages, retiree benefits, and protection in
case of layoffs. Both sides have made modifications to their proposals
on each of these issues in a continued effort to reach agreement.
The process can be frustrating, but your committee stuck to their principles
and made gains that you can be proud of. At the same time, we
believe there is still some work left to do before the parties have fulfilled
their obligation to bargain in good faith towards a fair agreement. We
don’t fully understand management’s rationale in their Final Offer—was
it due to stubbornness or simply Corporate Greed? We think that further
discussion will produce a better agreement.

This update is not meant to go into full detail on the Last Best Final Offer
of Lehigh. We need all our members to attend their Local Union
meeting and hear from the officers who attended these bargaining sessions.
If you only want one side of the story, we are sure that Lehigh
Corporate, the plant managers and the first line supervisors will offer
their spin.

Considering we work side by side with each of you—we think you need
to hear, in person, why we wouldn’t accept the company’s offer. In addition,
we intend to have the specific details on the process for the vote.

Committed to Each Other, In Solidarity We Stand!