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Arandell Union Workers Stage Solidarity March

Union employees want to see their wages brought back in their new contract after taking a 21 percent cut in 2010.

Arandell Corp. union employees on Wednesday staged a solidarity march outside the company to demonstrate their unity as contract negotiations continue with the company.

Roughly 60 second-shift union workers from Arandell marched along Leon Road before their workday began to show unity as union representatives continue to bargain for a new contract with the company. They were joined by their first-shift counterparts later in the afternoon as they finished their shift.

Union workers are hoping to have their pay increased after taking deep wage cuts in April 2010.

Frustration has been mounting with the members of Local 577M of the Graphic Communications Conference, which is an offshoot of Teamsters and represents nearly 600 workers at Arandell. Last year, the company cut wages by 21 percent for all employees after the negotiations with the union reached an impasse.

The contract with the union expired March 31, and negotiations have been ongoing since April.

“We’re in the middle of contract negotiations and people are getting a little frustrated and they wanted to show unity with one another, and show the company that we stand together,” said Local 577M Vice President Perry Kettner. “These people took wage cuts over a year ago and they’re hurting.”

The printing industry has been one of the hardest hit with the economic downturn, and print volumes have decreased nearly 25 percent forcing layoffs and plant closures industry wide, said Arandell Vice President of Human Resources Kuhnmuench.

The wage decrease imposed in 2010 helped reduce costs for the company and avoid layoffs.

“Right now, we are working to reach an agreement with the union that will continue to save jobs and position the company for growth and success in the years to come,” Kuhnmuench said. “The simple fact is that the company is offering competitive wages and benefits that enabled it to hire 120 new workers in the last month alone.”

Kuhnmuench added that even with the cuts to pay, union workers’ wages continue to be more than competitive in the printing industry both in Wisconsin and nationally.

Christine Davis has been an employee at Arandell for 15 years, and said she’s had to work longer shifts and overtime to make up for the reduction in her pay. She was marching with other workers Wednesday.

“The cost of living just keeps going up, but my pay keeps going down,” Davis said.

Kettner said workers have been putting in their fair share to deserve a wage increase, during the busiest time of the year for Arandell.

“This is the busy season for the company, and we feel it’s time to strike the deal,” Kettner said. “We’ve been working a lot of overtime and long hours and we feel it’s time to get something back.”

Steve August 19, 2011 at 04:13 AM
Sounds like a very generous company allowing overtime even though they had to cut high union wages to stay alive and keep workers employed. Most companies do not allow overtime during these times. She has the ability to make up for the cut?! What a great company to work for yet she blasts it. I agree, quit, or move to Sweden.
Cate August 19, 2011 at 04:15 AM
Thanks, Tom. Another point to make: Arandell WON'T HIRE YOU unless you join the Union. So, folks who say we're "Union Slugs", if you want a job here, go ahead. Then YOU will be a slug, too.
anonymous August 19, 2011 at 04:47 AM
We all wish she would quit but unfortunately the union protects non-performing, non-productive, non-co-operative people and she knows it.
anonymous August 19, 2011 at 05:05 AM
I agree the company does waste a lot of money on the items you mentioned. However with the union everybody in their class earns the same amount of money and the only thing that matters is seniority to get a higher paying postion. It would be nice if the company could reward individuals who have higher motivation,talent, and ability with a better wage. However with the union this is not possible. The company must pay everyone the same wage regardless of their performance. I'm guessing the company cannot afford to give all 600 union members a wage increase, but I'm sure they could afford to give a percentage of those people some money back.
Printing Veteran August 19, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Maybe the Treis family (owners) should start selling off their yachts, stop leasing expensive cars on the company dime and take paycuts themselves. I'm sure when their employees pull into the parking lot and see those expensive cars it really gives them the "we're in this together" feeling. As a former employee, I can tell you that they are ruthless and unethical. Word on the street is that some of their suppliers are starting to ask for shorter payment terms so Arandell is now starting to ask their customers to start supplying their own paper. It won't be long when their bank cuts them off and the doors are locked.
Steve August 19, 2011 at 04:38 PM
Ah, one of those...
Craig August 19, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Don't you mean Arandell CAN'T hire you unless you join the union? It is a closed shop, meaning any employee hired is required by the contract to join the union. Just another fine example of how Unions suck the life out of anyone they can, heaven forbid they can't collect dues from some employees...how would they operate politically without all that money strongarmed away from hard working people?
Rathskeller August 19, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Ruthless?? I understand that many of the workers in that plant make over $20.00/hour and get nearly unlimited overtime opportunities. I wonder what they'll do when the "ruthless" Treis family decides to liquidate the company????? Maybe snatch up one of those McDonalds jobs.
Craig August 19, 2011 at 07:54 PM
@Rathskeller....$20/hour is hardly a family supporting wage. I am not pro-union by any means, but $40,000 a year is not much of an income.
Cate August 19, 2011 at 07:55 PM
No, "rathskeller", less than 1/4 of the employees make $20/hr. The rest of us make barely over $10. Also, we're not looking for pay raises, we're looking for a restoration to our previous scale, like they've been promising for over a year. The rest of the facility (front office and management) were fully restored MONTHS ago. We just want to know why they got everything back, and we get nothing? Aren't we working for the same company? And I love that the article claims they've hired over 120 people. What they didn't tell you was that over half of those only lasted an average of 2 weeks before quitting. The ones I talked to said the Union wasn't the ptoblem, the pay just wasn't worth the amount of work required, so they went elsewhere.
Steve August 19, 2011 at 09:38 PM
X2 $80,000/YR
Lyle Ruble August 20, 2011 at 03:01 AM
I have been down this path before and one of the important issues is businesses are pushing labor for ever higher productivity without increasing compensation. Labor is viewed as an expendable commodities; they can be replaced when they're all used up. Only problem, these are human beings, our neighbors and fellow citizens. I've seen what mismanagement can do to a company. The management of this firm is responsible for the lives of perhaps 2500 people and should be held morally accountable for the role they play in the lives of their employees and the community.
William horvat August 20, 2011 at 04:34 PM
"union slugs" ya awesome description , you must be one of those close minded toe tapping under the stall conservitives . I work at arandell not because of the union but I need to suport my family , you need both sides of the story to make a real fair statement . Our union isn't perfect but neither is our company , all we ask is for a fair contract . Maybe you people who criticize us dont have to work two jobs to make ends meet like alot of us do now , try taking a $4 pay cut and ask your family to see less of you and give up more of what they may need !
jake August 20, 2011 at 05:06 PM
You say the company has been promising a restoration to our previous scale for over a year?? WOW! I don't recall them promising this. I guess I need to attend the company/employee monthly meetings more often. By the way, when is he next employee appreciation cookout?
Rosie August 20, 2011 at 05:30 PM
just wanting to let you know that NOT everyone in the office recieved all their wages back!!!!!!! those of us who make the lower wages in the office have not recieved what we were making when we got our 1st wage reduction 2 1/2 years ago...I know the struggles that everyone is going through. I am hoping and praying that they recieve their wages back and even if its not all right now at least give them 15% back...and these "SLUGS" that you call them are all hard dedicated workers and obvisouly do want to see the company succed and thats why they are still there!!!!! maybe your the one that should go work at McDonalds and see how hard manual labor is instead of sitting on your computer telling other people where they should go and work!!!!!!!!!!!!
james andrzejczak August 20, 2011 at 07:10 PM
I get really tired of reading be glad we have a job on here and on the artical jsonline a while back. To all of you people who say "i wish i had a job" come on down and fill out an application. Then if you get hired and make it to day 91 and are off probation then come back and see if you have the same smart ass comments. Or are you one of the people that are experts at collecting unemployment?
Lyle Ruble August 20, 2011 at 09:25 PM
For everyone who doesn't have skin in this game, we need to back off and let Arandell Corporation and its union employees work this out. To weigh in on a private business and private unions is not the same as weighing in on public unions and government to which we all have a vested interest as taxpayers.
NoSpinJustFacts August 21, 2011 at 12:46 PM
Mr. John Kuhnmuench, VP of Human Resources is a very intelligent Corporate Lawyer and Spokesperson for THE COMPANY. When he made the comment concerning Arandell hiring "120 new workers in the last month alone", he failed to be thorough with his statement. The 120 employees were hired beginning July 11th, however of those 120 hired only 77 remain employed. Not done yet. Subtract the 32 hired last monday, September 15th and just completed their first week of training. The net effect for the first three weeks of hiring leaves 45 out of 88 employees still working. Keep in mind that we lost 45 employees after the 21% wage reduction, so there's a net gain of zero(0) employees working for Arandell! These new employees still have to past the muster of a six month probation period. So, if history repeats itself, come July 2012, we'll be doing this hiring all over again!
NoSpinJustFacts August 21, 2011 at 01:24 PM
Error Noted: Line 7 of Comment: Should read "August 15th" Got a little ahead of myself in this fast paced blog, my apologies!
Jeff Mueller August 21, 2011 at 10:09 PM
Everyone that is still employed by any company is glad to have a job. Unfortunately corporate America has decided to use the recession as a tool to strip workers of everything they have then say well just be happy you still have a job. Arandell has had 40 years of success with Union workers there the entire way. Union workers and families have given there all to build that company. As have many non union workers. Over the last 10 years the responsible actions of Union employees have kept this company going. Every time the company has come to the Union worker with its hand out the workers have given back. This time they asked for more than we can handle. Executives of this company have reinstated their own wages while all of those on the bottom are still paying the price.
NoSpinJustFacts August 24, 2011 at 10:37 PM
This response is for Unions_NO! You or any of your friends, relatives, or associates are welcome "to come an drink the Koolade" if they are available to work. There is plenty of hiring room available for those who can pass the requirements and are physically and mentally able to work at Arandell. The problem is, there aren't enough people in the Milwaukee area available to fill the positions in the bindery that have the physical and mental aptitude to handle the daily requirements of being a bindery worker. I might also mention that you will be starting at $8.90 / hr., be available during the overtime period 75% of the time and make it thru a six month probation period. If there were, then WHY must we go thru this exercise of hiring on average 100 new employees every year for the past two years and according to management business hasn't increased? Again, come drink the Koolade, I'll even have some ice for you because it's also hot as hell in here!
Craig August 25, 2011 at 01:45 AM
Lyle is 100% correct. I hope for the best outcome possible.
whoever August 25, 2011 at 07:25 PM
I drank the koolade there before. A bindery worker there was the easiest job I ever had. They pay you to stand around and do next to nothing at times. All I had to do to make it through the 6 months was show up basically. I always thought to myself at times they could get by with a lot less people. I kind of agree with the guy at the top of the blog. "Be happy you have a job" And if you are a bindery worker, a very easy job at that. However I know it must be disappointing to lose what you once had. Good luck on your wage restoration.
Dan August 26, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Continued....Im over here working at color ink and believe me I feel there pain. Except we can't do anything but sit back and watch. We have had no raises in 3 years and a indirect cut in pay threw insurance. But yet we continue to have tons of work and be very busy. And the company is spending money left and right on and new company car and remodeling of the offices, and a new $800,000 press, and looks like the big boss just bought a brand new suv and I think a car too but here we sit hurting. I have no problems with company's doing what they gotta do in hard times but don't take advantage of the situation using the economy and Obama care as a excuse
Dan August 26, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Oh and keep up the strike!!! It's not doing much hurt towards arandel cause there just bidding out the jobs to us. I'm seeing more and more arandel jobs coming in and now I know why after seeing the article. Oh and there nice big runs 75,000 sheets of cover. Yay gravy
Dan August 26, 2011 at 04:38 PM
I'm sure them being on strike does not do much to hurt the company either. There just hurting themselves, I'm sure the company is just bidding out the jobs to other printers. So the work is still getting done. Just a bit of advise.
NoSpinJustFacts August 27, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Dan, thanks for the advice! However, even though you see tons of work from Arandell, we still are VERY busy with all the overtime we can muster. So, that's good for you and good for us. Color Ink's business will increase even more if management decides the bindery workers and press employees aren't worth consideration for restoration. It is what it is, and life will go on!
keith hoops August 30, 2011 at 01:39 AM
anonymous is totally wrong a contract establishes wage minimums that must be paid the company can pay anyone more than the prevailing wage scale.
Craig August 30, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Not totally wrong. The contract usually specifies a wage range -as in min/ max. If an employee is paid above that range, there would be grievances filed. The only way to pay above the specified range would be to give the employee a higher labor grade. Then there would be a grievance filed if he was doing the same job with a higher grade.
K.S. ;) September 30, 2012 at 11:22 AM
As a former employee and union steward,my advice to the people working there is quit backing down and take back what this company has "stolen" from all of you.You all know what this company makes annually,its no big secret. If "upper" management doesn't know how to run it or control their spending,its not the union workers fault.And as far as the "office" people go,you let the company take what they wanted,don't blame the union or its workers for your lack of solidarity. The people who are in the trenches,so to speak,took a WAY bigger hit than you will ever know. And one more thing,for these bigmouthed people who like to say be glad you got a job or go work at McDonalds,how about you take a $4 paycut and go work their yourself and try to support a family. Its real easy to sit in a chair in an office with nothing better to do than try to bring these people down WHILE eating McDonalds. Employees of the union,stick to your guns and stick together. You all deserve to get back what you lost. SOLIDARITY!!

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