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Contract Language


Recommended Contract Language Proposals for Warehouse Production Standards

Please note that these are suggestions, if your contract allows for greater allowances in some instances, please keep your present contract language intact.

  • Allowances and Rest Breaks

    • Language: Fatigue allowances for workers assigned to eight-hour shifts shall be a minimum of ten (10) percent. After eight hours on shift, the worker shall be taken off standards altogether, or, an 80% enforcement level shall be used for all hours from eight to ten hours. Under no circumstances shall a worker be on standard after ten consecutive hours in a shift.

      Supporting Argument: The present fatigue allowances are usually in the neighborhood of three to five percent, which is probably adequate for sedentary work, but not for heavy physical labor. There are procedures for determining an appropriate fatigue allowance, but until the employer recognizes them, this is the basic minimum that we recommend. As a fallback position, you may be able to accept a lower fatigue allowance for forklift operators, but in no case should this be less than five (5) percent for them.

    • Language: Personal allowances should include, at a minimum; two fifteen (15) minutes paid rest breaks and a one-half hour unpaid (or paid) meal break in addition to a five percent (5%) personal allowance.

      Supporting Argument: The personal allowance provides for bathroom and water breaks, stretching and other breaks that won’t wait until the scheduled break. This amounts to three minutes every hour on tope of the paid breaks, which undoubtedly will seem excessive to the company. As a fallback position, we recommend leaving the paid breaks untouched, and reducing the percentage personal allowance to three percent (3%).

    • Language: Reasonable travel time to and from break areas shall be included in the standard for all meal and rest breaks. The union shall have the right to audit the allowed time to determine whether such travel time is adequate or not.

      Supporting Argument: Many times, the standard does not include "coming and going" to the break area, which means that the worker has to "eat" this time. We are recommending that the breaks be lengthened to cover for this travel time, if it takes two minutes on average to travel to the break area, the fifteen-minute break would be extended to nineteen minutes.

    • Language: The employer and the union will jointly determine an appropriate method for determining additional heat stress breaks on those days where the outside temperature at shift start exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Where such conditions exist, the employer will provide adequate fluids, ventilation and a minimum five-minute paid rest break each hour in addition to those already described in this section.

      Supporting Argument: Heat stress guidelines require that a Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer be used. This method here is a very rough one, but at least it recognizes the problems associated with heat stress.

    • Language: For employees working in the freezer section, the employer will provide in addition to those breaks and allowances described above, two fifteen minute freezer breaks each eight hour shift. For purposes of this section, the fifteen minutes breaks begins when the selector enters the warm-up area, and ends when they leave the warm-up area in their freezer suit.

      Supporting Argument: Cold stress in another hazard which the industry has pretty much ignored. There are two recommended standards for cold stress, which involve some measurement. This method provides a simpler value.

    • Language: A complete set of written instructions for downtime shall be developed, jointly approved and conspicuously posted so they are always available to workers covered by the standard. All employees under any production standard shall also receive a copy of this policy and any updates. The Local Union shall also be furnished with a copy and any up dates.

      Supporting Argument: Many times supervisors make up the rules about what is and what isn’t downtime as they go along, and the amount of time they give a selector for a battery change might vary from 0 to 20 minutes. This provision eliminates this favoritism and establishes uniform standards).

  • Training Programs

    Language: All workers who will be working under standard, including casual and part-time workers, will receive, before revised standards are implemented or within one week of hire, a twenty-four hour course in work methods, safe lifting practices, and how the production standards work. The employer and the Union will jointly select instructors for this course. All training materials will be agreed to. All training shall be on paid time. The course will train worker, at a minimum in the following areas:

    • How production standards operate, why they are necessary, how rest breaks and allowances are established, downtime rules, etc.

    • How employees should keep their own records, interpret daily and weekly reports.

    • How to adjust errors or handle complaints.

    • Safe lifting methods and other controls to reduce injury risk

    • Work methods required by the standards

    Supporting Argument: Training in these areas in very spotty, particularly in how the standards work and what employees can do to keep track of problems. This will force the employer to do the right thing. The company typically wants to keep the selector as uninformed as possible, so they are easier to intimidate and manipulate. You can go down a bit on the length of the training, but the other principles are worth fighting for.

  • Employee Access to Information

    Language: All employees under standard, including casual and part-time workers, shall have the right to the following information as soon as reasonably practicable following their request:

    • Each worker’s own daily performance report-showing standard, actual, and off-standard maximum cases and weight, by order by warehouse section.

    • Each worker’s own weekly performance report showing for each day and the week the number of standard, actual, off standard, maximum cases and efficiency percentage.

    • The right of access to past individual information shall not be restricted in anyway.

    • Workers shall be allowed to maintain their own personal records of productivity, efficiency and downtime during the day, and time for this activity shall be built into the standard. Any questions or concerns which workers address to the management shall be done off standard.

    Supporting Argument: Most employers try to restrict workers access to information to keep them intimidated and manipulated. By making this information accessible and by giving employees the right as well as paid time to request and evaluate it, and handle complaints, this will most likely reduce problems, disciplinary action and grievances—you can use this as a selling point. It will also, you can tell employer, to help to improve the credibility of the standard.)

  • Union access to information:

    Language: All union stewards and business agents shall receive, each week, copies of the weekly performance report for all employees (including casuals and part-time employees) on standard in the warehouse. This report shall include the following information for each employee for that week: minutes (hours) on standard; minutes (hours) off standard; minutes (hours) actual and total cases.

    Language: All union stewards and business agents shall have the right to receive or inspect without delay the following information:

    • Copies of any standards documentation including but not limited allowance and rest break worksheet unavoidable delay studies, KVI and flow charts, elemental time studies, stop watch-derived standard data times, elemental descriptions, methods worksheets, slotting locations of products, audit trails, and other miscellaneous studies.

    • Any performance record of any individual worker covered by this standard for any period of time.

    • An audit trail or KVI information on any order at any time

    Supporting Argument: In addition to employees having access to information, the union needs to get it routinely and upon request. This will, you can tell the company, help spot problems or difficulties more efficiently, and will further help establish the credibility of the standard.

  • Training of union stewards by employer

    Language: The employer, as long as production standards are in effect for one or more workers, shall train two (2) union stewards selected by the union. The level of training in the applicable standard shall be for forty (40) hours or the course offered to on-site engineers by company whichever is longer. This training will also include the necessary practice time to ensure that the union engineers are able to analyze changes, conditions and methods, criticize the standard data, conduct work sampling and time studies. The company shall provide such training, including travel and reasonable expenses, as well as lost time, and workers shall suffer no reduction in pay to attend this training or to perform the functions described below.

    Language: The union stewards will be allowed paid time to perform the following functions: verification of the fairness and accuracy of standards, conduct periodic audits, and to investigate worker complaints regarding the standards, methods and conditions, slotting practices and other matters related to the implementation and administration of the standards. The company shall also provide the union stewards with the necessary stopwatches, equipment, office space and read-only access to the computerized standards and related computer programs.

    Supporting Argument: Having two union stewards trained will give good coverage to all shifts and areas and handle the contingency of illness leaves or quits. The practice of having union engineers in the plant is quite common in the metal manufacturing industry, and makes a lot of sense. It helps reduce problems and questions and helps to establish the credibility of the standards. Moreover, it reduces the likelihood that the union will bring in its own outside engineer; grievances and disciplinary action get settled more promptly and effectively in this manner. The read-only access to the standards program means that the union stewards can’t change anything on their own, but can more easily look up the standards.

  • General Provisions

    Language: No change in any method, standard or condition which changes the standard time on any order by one percent (1%) shall be made without first consulting the union business agent, provided that the union, after consultation with the union engineers, shall have the right to conduct an audit using either the union engineers or its own outside expert. The local union further reserves the right to grieve any such standards changes.

    • The enforcement level of the production standards shall not exceed ninety-five (95%) of the standards.

    • The cube breaks should be at fifty (50) to fifty-five (55) in order to reduce the chance of injury.

    Recommended Steps of Discipline

    The six steps of progressive discipline are as follows:

    • Verbal warning followed by at least two hours of methods observation and documentation.

    • Written warning, followed by at least four hours of methods observation and documentation

    • One day suspension

    • Three day suspension

    • Five day suspension

    • Removal from job allowing employee to bid on job elsewhere seniority permitting

    A verbal warning will include counseling following at least two hours of methods observation provided by the trainer or shift supervisor and written suggestions.

    A written warning will be the same as a verbal warning, except that it will follow four hours of methods observation provided by the trainer or shift supervisor and written suggestions.

    Any three (3) week period of work completed by an individual without the issue of additional discipline will remove one discipline step from the employee’s record. This discipline free span can be a result of any combination of crew or individual success. The individual must be on standard for a test twenty hours in a given week for this week to count.

    Progressive Enforcement Levels

    Suggested ramp-up periods for full time employees being held to production standards.



    1 week to advance to 80%


    1 week to maintain 80%

    Under 80%

    1 week to advance to 85%

    Under 80%

    1 week to maintain 85%

    Under 85%

    1 week to advance to 90%

    Under 85%

    1 week to maintain 90%

    Under 90%

    1 week to advance to 95%

    Under 90%

    1 week to maintain 95%

    Under 95%


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