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Union and Red Wing Shoe reach agreement

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 527 members voted to ratify a new two-year contract with Red Wing Shoe Co. Thursday.

Approximately two-thirds of the UFCW Boot and Shoe Union members who voted favored the new contract.

Peter Engel, director of marketing and communications for Red Wing Shoe, said the company is very happy the contract was ratified.

“It’s fair for the company and fair for the employees,” he said.

Roger Spindler, president of UFCW Local 527, agreed. Overall, the settlement should help improve efficiency at the plant, he said.

Spindler said the union would have liked a longer contract but the uncertainty of health care costs made it difficult to make a longer contract a reality.

Ultimately, however, the company and union did work together to control health care costs, he said, which was a concern during negotiations.

Previous contracts have typically been anywhere from one to three years in length, Engel said.

While health care costs drew concern from both sides, Spindler said he still has some unease about wages.

“I’m concerned that the changes in the pay scale may result in future employees making less,” he said.

Close to 390 union members voted on the contract, Spindler said.

Engel said there are about 460 members of the Boot and Shoe Union who work in Plant 2, and it’s typical to have around 80 percent turnout for a contract ratification vote.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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