In July, members at RWDSU Local 125 in St. Joseph, Missouri, have overwhelmingly approved a new five-year contract with their employer, National Beef Leathers, where 400 RWDSU members process cow hide into blue leather, which is then sold to vendors who turn it into everything from shoes to car seat covers.
The contract increases wages $2.20 an hour over the term on just the General Wage Increase, but half of the plant will also be able to increase wages in the Maintenance, Environmental and Loft Departments anywhere from $1.00-$5.00 an hour on a pay for skill program that the member wishes to achieve. Longevity pay increases based on a member gaining five years seniority and again at 10 years seniority also were made. The members also will receive a $1,000 signing bonus.
Numerous improvements in language as well in seniority and funeral leave. The agreement also created eights new positions that will be known as a Flex Employee in the Production Department (that will be a basic relief person in that department). The Union was able to maintain the Company’s medical insurance with little change in the plan starting in January of 2021 with little premium increases to the member.
The Bargaining Committee was made up of Travis Garton, Local 125 President, Bobby Mendoza Chief Steward at National Beef, Darvin Waitkoss, Ed Burdette, Ernie Turner, Rashiene Stewart. They were assisted by Dennis Williams Sr. Business Representative for the Central States Council and RWDSU Representative Roger Grobstich.