Membership Update #2

Libbey Bankruptcy June 23, 2020

Your bargaining committees met today via video-conference to review the current status of the Libbey bankruptcy. The meeting included both local and international union representatives from each of the USW represented locations as well as representatives from the IAM.

We received a report from our USW technician about the responses we have received from the company so far to our information requests. After filing for bankruptcy on June 1st Libbey proposed to modify our contracts to cut wages and benefits by a combined 22%, including an immediate 10% wage cut. While the company is facing difficult times, a 22% cut is a drastic and entirely unnecessary request, especially when other Libbey employees have taken much smaller cuts and on a temporary basis.

To better understand the basis for Libbey’s bargaining demands, we gave the company an extensive information request on June 4th that included detailed financial and operational records, detailed wage and benefit costs, and information on what other cost saving and restructuring actions the company was taking. Federal  bankruptcy law  requires the company to provide us with this information. While we have some of the information requested, the company has failed to provide significant pieces of the information requested. For example, we are yet to receive reliable data that shows the costs of both active and retiree health care. Obviously, because the company proposed significant changes to both, we expected the information to be readily available. We will follow up on our first request.

You may be interested to read information that Libbey recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission about its current status.  This document discusses some issues in  the company’s bankruptcy process and reviews labor and pension issues.

As we concluded the meeting, we discussed the financial impact of COVID-19 on the company, and recognize that the pandemic played a major role as the bankruptcy’s primary cause. It appears that the market for our products is beginning to come back, and we believe that the company will recover and become profitable in the long term. We also discussed some ideas about several issues to be included in our proposals to ensure our economic security, employment security and retirement security. We talked about a framework for future bargaining and some of the opportunities we could include in bargaining that will benefit us as time goes on. Your support for your committees and our solidarity and determination are key  to maintaining and achieving a fair and equitable contract. Stay strong and stay safe, we’ll keep you updated as we proceed.

In Solidarity USW/Libbey Bargaining Committee