After a 4-year confrontation, Litton Systems, Inc., and the United
Electrical Workers negotiated an initial contract for 2,000 employees of
the company’s microwave oven plant in Sioux Falls, SD. The
Electrical Workers had won a representation election at the plant in
November 1980. A year later, the National Labor Relations Board certified the union as the bargaining agent for the workers, but the
relationship became increasingly antagonistic as the parties traded
charges and engaged in legal actions. The union, which won the
assistance of other unions in a national publicity and boycott drive
against Litton, claimed that the company was engaged in a corporatewide
campaign to thwart employee efforts to organize. Litton denied this,
saying its labor relations strategies were set at the local rather than
national level and that its number of labor law violations was not
excessive considering its large number of plants.
A major factor in attaining the contract settlement was the
intervention of a joint committee the parties established in 1983 to
discuss and investigate labor disputes.
The new contract, which extends to January 31, 1987, provides for
wage increases of 35 cents an hour effective immediately, 40 cents in
August 1985, and 25 cents in August 1986. Prior to the settlement, the
employees reportedly averaged $5.20 an hour.
Benefit provisions include coverage under a contributory
companywide pension plan; a grievance procedure; seniority rights;
job-bidding procedures; health and safety monitoring; 11 holidays; and a
health plan calling for a nominal employee contribution for single
coverage and $25 a month for family coverage.