Members of United Steelworkers Local 3298 say they’re about to enter into contract negotiations with ITT Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls.
The group tells FingerLakes1.com they have some items weighing on their minds, like wage increases and health insurance for retirees.
Union members talk better wages, health insurance in Seneca Falls (video)
Hundreds of employees walked together during their lunch hour.
“Not a walkout, not a strike, it’s a lunchtime rally for solidarity,” said employee Mike Bohling on Monday.
So what’s this all about?
“Some wage increases, good healthcare, that’s about it,” Union President Jeffrey Rasbeck said.
“Right now obviously we’re having some trying times and all that but this has always been a good place to me,” said Bohling.
He’s worked for Goulds for over thirty years.
“Obviously it’s been one of the main employers for our families here, and with the announcement of the foundry closure and all that, there are some concerns,” continued Bohling. “We just want to make sure we have a place for security here and a place to work here.”
“We do all kinds of things, machinists, assemblers, maintenance, stock room,” said Rasbeck. “We have 298 union [due] paying members right now.”
Company reacts to rally
We reached out to Goulds parent company, ITT, and they gave us this statement:
“ITT Industrial Process is committed to making our Seneca Falls operations globally competitive. The company is beginning negotiations with United Steelworkers Local 3298 for a successor collective bargaining agreement at its Seneca Falls operations tomorrow, July 19. The current collective bargaining agreement expires on July 30, 2022. We look forward to bargaining in good faith towards a contract that provides our employees with highly competitive wages and benefits while supporting the operational efficiencies and flexibility we need to compete in today’s marketplace.”
Retirement plan a topic of interest for negotiations
Employees say part of this effort is to draw awareness to the retirement plan.
“Our healthcare is decent right now yes, for active,” Rasbeck said. “Our retirees are left out in the cold.”
“We’re having some difficulties with the retiree healthcare obviously they spent 30-40 years here, so we want to make sure they have a quality of life afterwards,” Bohling said.
Union president says they want fair contract
Union workers want the company to know they’re standing together.
“We just want to let the company know that we expect a fair contract,” Rasbeck said.
The union president tells us the contract negotiations should be over July 30.
Rebecca is a veteran multimedia journalist serving as one of our core reporters in the Finger Lakes region. She is responsible for telling stories that matter to every day Upstate New Yorkers. Have a question or lead? Send it to [email protected].