For the first time in eight months, machinists at Moncure Plywood will dress for work Monday morning.
The plant’s 109 union workers approved a new three-year contract Monday night that will end their strike against Atlas Holdings, the owner of the Chatham County plywood factory. Many of the employees had worked at the plant for decades before striking over company demands for a seven-day workweek and 200 percent increases in health insurance premiums.
The new contract keeps wages and work schedules essentially as they were. But provisions giving workers a share of the plant’s financial success, new safety initiatives and shared decision-making are improvements. There is a slight increase in insurance costs, according to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
The union and the company approved a tentative agreement late last week during a meeting arranged by a federal mediator. The members endorsed the contract by a vote of 59 to 24.
“Everyone is very relieved,” said Melvin Montford of IAM and the A. Philip Randolph Institute, which had supported the workers during the strike. “If this hadn’t been settled, it was feared that the plant would just shut down and move away.”