Membership update #10


Libbey Bankruptcy – September 14, 2020

Based on the solidarity of the Membership and the overwhelming support of the Strike Authorization votes, your bargaining committees made another offer to Libbey management last Friday in an effort to avoid a labor dispute and to reach a fair and equitable resolution to the Libbey bankruptcy.

Our proposal was based on a series of sacrifices developed to allow the Company to emerge from bankruptcy and to allow all parties to avoid the risk associated with the Company’s motion to reject our contracts, but once again it was rejected by management, their lawyers and the lenders who clearly do not understand the principle of shared sacrifice.

Management, their lawyers and the lenders continue to demand concessions beyond their need to reorganize the Company, they continue to make unneeded demands and threaten to use the court to take away years of collective bargaining gains.

Our latest proposal still would reduce our base rates by 10% temporarily in order for the company to emerge from bankruptcy, but it guarantees the base rates are fully restored and ensures us additional wage increases of 5% over the term of the agreement.  Our offer also includes a wage floor that ensures lower paid employees would not be paid less than $15.00 per hour.

Our proposal from Friday freezes future service under the pension plan effective January 2023, with no other changes. Pension service for the purpose of eligibility, including for early retirement, would continue. In addition, for anyone who currently participates in the pension plan, if they do not leave the company before January of 2023, then the multiplier will increase to $42.00 per year of service for all years of service (the company has rejected this proposal). 

Our proposal also includes the continuation of the 401K match, and beginning January 1, 2023, the company would contribute 2% of each employee’s W-2 earnings for all employees into each and every employee’s 401K account, something we have not been able to achieve before (the company has rejected this proposal).

Management responded to our latest proposals late Friday afternoon. Management’s wage proposals matched ours, and they accepted other parts of what we offered, including our proposals relating to the shutdown of Shreveport, including the payment of Severance, continuation of health insurance benefits, and other enhanced benefits for Shreveport members.

 Even with the common ground in the proposals, the company continues to demand drastic changes in overtime and premium pay.  They continue to demand to enhance their ability to use temporary workers. And they continue to demand massive increases to health care contributions in order to align your health care costs with those of the salaried employees.

The bankruptcy judge has reset the court dates for the 1113/114 motions to be heard beginning on September 21st of this month. There will be a status conference with the judge on September 16. The unions’ lawyers will be ready to defend our contracts and will present witnesses who will show the gross unfairness of Libbey’s demands compared to the sensible solutions that we have offered. 

We will continue to keep you updated as we proceed in defending our contracts and standards of living. To this point, nothing we’ve been willing to offer has been enough for management.  Your continued solidarity and strength is what we need to lead management and their lenders to recognize that Libbey will only emerge from bankruptcy if everyone – management, salaried retirees, and lenders included is willing to sacrifice.

 In Solidarity – USW/IAM - Libbey Bargaining Committee