Teamsters Local 688 members end strike at Graybar with 18% wage increase over four years

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STRIKE OVER – Teamsters Local 688 members have ended a 15-day strike against Graybar that includes an 18-percent wage increase over the four-year agreement. The strike drew the support of local union members, Labor allies and others including Lucas Kunce (center), who is running to unseat U.S. Senator Josh Hawley. Kunce is endorsed by the Missouri AFL-CIO. – Labor Tribune photo

By SHERI GASSAWAY
Assistant Editor

After a 15-day strike, Teamsters Local 688 members at Graybar have approved a new contract with an 18 percent wage increase and other benefits.

The wage increase will be phased in over the four-year agreement. Other contract highlights include:

  • Increases in lead and 2nd shift differential pay.
  • A $1,500 ratification bonus.
  • Contractual language requiring Graybar to meet with the committee within 30 days to discuss a reduction in forced overtime.
  • Contractual language that obligates Graybar to specific workplace safety commitments.

‘TOUGH, NOBLE FIGHT’
Local 688 Secretary-Treasurer Chris Tongay said the strike was a tough, but noble fight.

“From the very start, these workers knew they were standing up for what was right,” Tongay said. “The success of this contract underscores the strength and unity of Teamsters to win a better workplace. The gains made in this agreement would not have been possible without the resolve of our members and their commitment to fighting for what they deserve.”

The 42 warehouse workers and drivers went on strike Feb. 26 after a subpar contract offer by the company. Just hours later, the electrical and industrial communications distributor locked them out and stripped them of their health care.

‘STOOD STRONG’
“We fought hard and stood strong to get this contract,” said Eric Thomas, a Local 688 member at Graybar. “We want to thank everyone who stood with us in this fight. Without the support of our families and the St. Louis community, this fight would have been a lot harder.”

Shortly after the strike ended, Graybar released the following statement:

“The agreement addresses the key concerns of both parties and provides a path forward that will benefit our employees, our customers, our company, and ultimately, the St. Louis community,” the statement read. “We look forward to continuing our positive relationship with the Teamsters as we work together to achieve our shared goals.”

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.3 million hardworking people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit Teamster.org for more information.


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