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Local 108 agreement negotiated, ratified
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Members of Carpenters Local 108 in Western Massachusetts have completed negotiations on a new three-year collective bargaining agreement, which was ratified by members at a meeting on Saturday.

The agreement, reached with Construction Industry Association provides an increase in wages and benefits totaling $4.50 an hour with increases of $1.50 per year in six month increments. The first increase is 72-cents an hour and will take effect June 8th. Of the first 72-cent increase, 50 cents will be allocated to hourly pension fund contributions, 10 cents will be added to annuity fund contributions, 2 cents will be allocated to the International Training Fund and 10 cents will be added to hourly wages.

On October 5th, carpenters will see a 78-cent increase to the hourly wage and benefit package. Seventy-five cents of that will be added to hourly pension fund contributions and another 3 cents being added to hourly wages.

Additional increases of seventy-five cents will be added to the total hourly wage and benefit rates will be allocated by votes of members as they come into effect in April and October of both 2010 and 2011.

In addition to the financial increases to the agreement, several language changes were made. The sections in the agreement on "Work Description" and "Words and Phrases defined" have been reorganized to match the way work is done on a project. Other language in those sections has been cleaned up and clarified, often to make language more modern. Other changes were made to increase the continuity of language between the Western Massachusetts agreement and those in the "Eastern area" and Boston.

Article 3A, pertaining to subcontracting, was changed to add language to protect work that is traditionally performed by carpenters on the job, but which may be done off site.

A new Section 10 has been added covering Fringe Benefit Payments and other Payment Provisions that will allow for the payment of benefits to Superintendents, estimators, or other non-carpenter employees.

Also changed was the annuity payment for apprentices, which will now be based on a percentage of the rate. The change will only effect apprentices indentured after June 1 of this year. Apprentice language was also changed in relation to lay-off notices given to apprentices that need to go to attend training sessions.

The agreement was passed by a membership vote of 94%-6%.

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