New Piper And Union Workers Reach Agreement

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New Piper and its union workers agreed on a contract Thursday night after almost two years of negotiations, averting a strike vote. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents 729 of the company's 920 employees. "We've tallied the vote and 68 percent approved," union spokesman Bob Wood told TCPalm.com. "We were pretty confident that our membership would understand that it's a step in the right direction. It was time to stop the bleeding." The contract sets rules for workday length, seniority, and overtime pay; increases the company's contribution to health-insurance plans; and establishes a grievance and mediation program, according to TCPalm. The employees agree not to strike, and New Piper agrees not to lock them out. "[The contract] could have been better in some aspects," worker Crystal Schacht told TCPalm. "But considering the company isn't doing well financially, I'd say it was fair."