Union members ratify agreement with Hubbell

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CENTRALIA - Hubbell Power Systems workers in Centralia will return to work Monday morning with increased wages.

A majority of the local IUE-CWA's 429 members voted Saturday morning. The union agreed to ratify a new contract with Hubbell.

Union leaders said the new agreement will provide a better retirement package, vacation eligibility for new employees and more competitive wages.

"Going into bargaining, you don't get everything you want," union vice president Jessie Montgomery said. "They don't get everything they want, but I feel like it's a fair contract for both sides." 

The agreement comes after a week of contract negotiations with the company after union members said they felt overworked and underpaid.

Workers picketing outside the plant on Thursday warned a strike could be on the horizon if negotiations had fallen through.

The new four-year deal will also include the largest wage increase at the Centralia plant in 40-plus years, a top priority for union members surveyed in January, Montgomery said.

"I think that's a pretty big step and something to be said for our bargaining team and for Hubbell to realize they have a problem with the competitive wages in the area. They took a big step in the right direction," he said.

The new contract goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Company spokeswoman Alicia DiGennaro did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.