Libbey Bankruptcy – August 28, 2020

 As you are aware, Libbey management has a motion under Sections 1113 and 1114 with the Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to reject our collective bargaining agreements, freeze our pension plans and eliminate retiree healthcare. The unions continue to bargain and have made a proposal based on the principle of shared sacrifice.  Libbey Glass management and the company’s financial lenders shouldn’t expect to reorganize this company on the backs of its hourly workers.  Executives, managers, and bankers alike should also sacrifice to save this 200-year old company.  So far, this hasn’t been enough for Libbey management and their lenders.

 What Happens Next?

 The bankruptcy judge has set court dates for the 1113/114 motions to be heard beginning on September 16,2020. The Unions’ lawyers will be ready to defend our contracts and will present witnesses who will show the gross unfairness of Libbey’s demands and the sensible solutions that we have offered.  If the bankruptcy judge agrees with Libbey, and allows them to reject our contracts and terminate our retiree insurance benefits, Libbey will be permitted to terminate the existing contracts and implement their proposals.

 What Has Management Demanded the Judge to Implement?

 Libbey’s demands include:

  • The permanent closure of most of the Shreveport facility, with only the warehouse remaining and a transfer of the product we make in Shreveport to be made in China and Mexico with some equipment being moved to Toledo and most equipment going to Mexico.
  • A ten percent (10%) reduction in all wage rates in Toledo effective October 1st of this year.  A ten percent (10%) reduction in all remaining wages rates in the Shreveport warehouse effective January 1st of next year (a two-month lag).
  • A so-called “snapback” of wage increases conditioned upon the company reaching what it calls “free cash flow” triggers that the company admits likely would not provide any wage increase until the first quarter of 2024 and no guarantee we would get the increases then.
  • Increase the cost of health benefits of union employees effective January 1, 2021, with management maintaining a right without any further bargaining to change plan terms in 2022 and thereafter to match the benefits paid to non-represented employees at any time.
  • A permanent freeze of the current pension plan that would prevent the accrual of any additional service credit.
  • The permanent elimination of current and future retiree healthcare, effective January 1, 2021.
  • Elimination of all tool allowances.
  • Elimination of all multi-assignment allowances.
  • Elimination of all overtime premiums except as required by law that are hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week.
  • Elimination of all double time premiums and all holiday premiums.
  • Increase the use of temporary employees even when union employees are laid off.
  • Reduce vacation amounts and vacation pay.
  • Elimination of December 26th – 29th as holidays.
  • Eliminate all skill adjustment premiums.

 What Can We Do To Prevent Libbey From Stealing Our Jobs And Our Livelihoods?

 We stand ready to continue bargaining.  And our lawyers will fight in court for fairness.  But, we also need to prepare to fight Libbey and its lenders on every front, including on the picket lines.  Our Negotiating Committees do not believe that our members will accept management’s demands and, if the bankruptcy court rejects our contracts, we will have a right to withhold our labor and begin a strike against Libbey.  A strike might be our only alternative to working under the above terms and conditions that are being insisted upon by Libbey.

 What Do We Do Next?

 Over the next several days your local union leadership will be scheduling meetings designed to allow for Covid-19 protocols to answer any questions you might have about management’s proposals and to seek the membership’s authorization to strike Libbey in the event the bankruptcy judge approves management’s demands to reject our agreements.  Staff will describe the current state of bargaining, management’s demands, and the ways that management and the lenders are seeking to keep value for themselves at your expense.  At the meetings for USW locals, staff will discuss and read the union’s guidelines for Strike and Defense Fund.  The IAM will follow its processes.  The International Presidents will authorize a strike against Libbey if the membership approves such action.  It is unfortunate that Libbey has forced us into this action, but it is last remaining defense against the greed and unreasonable demands of management and the “Wall Street” lenders.  

 In Solidarity – USW/IAM - Libbey Bargaining Committee