Gallo Glass employees had worked the same schedule for 40 years. It was a traditional eight-hour shift schedule – "Southern Swing" – that required working 14 straight days out of every 15. For years, the Glass, Molders and Pottery Union (GMP) employees and Gallo management looked for an alternative schedule that would provide more time off so employees could be with their families and also provide sufficient time to relax in-between shifts; simply a better quality of life.
Gallo Glass Company
INDUSTRY: Glass Bottle Manufacturing
EMPLOYEES: 1,000 Union
UNION: Glass, Molders, and Pottery Union (GMP)
PRODUCTION: 2.5 million wine bottles per day in 1997
HEADQUARTERS: Modesto, California
Gallo Glass is a family owned business, founded in 1958, that produces 2.5 million wine bottles a day, employs nearly 1,000 hourly union workers, and has one of the lowest attrition rates in the industry, with an average tenure of more than10 years. Their Modesto, California glass making facility operates at full production 7X24 with 16 lines and three shift changes.
So, why would a company that has enjoyed steady growth and low turnover of workers want to change?
"We wanted to come up with a new schedule to give our workers more time off, so they could enjoy other areas of their lives," according to Connie Rush, human resources manager for Gallo Glass. "If we could find a way to give our employees the time to do what they want while maintaining our current operating budgets, it makes good sense to do it."
Nothing they looked at allowed them to maintain the necessary 7-day, 24-hour production schedule. Then the company decided to get outside help with this challenge and hired Coleman Consulting in 1997. After evaluating several consulting firms, Coleman was selected based on their knowledge of working with unions, ability to address Gallo's cost neutrality needs and their inherent focus in relating to the employees.
Coleman Consulting was able to work with Gallo management and the union to successfully implement a new schedule that gives employees 91 additional days off per year, as well as 13 seven-day breaks per year. “Coleman's consultants worked with our employees, our union and our management and we found the right solution," states Bill Holmes, vice president at Gallo Glass.
Coleman consultants took a hands-on approach to designing a new schedule for Gallo Glass as they worked side by side with employees during their round-the-clock schedule. Coleman Consulting demonstrated their ability to roll-up their sleeves and understand the tasks workers performed, measuring the flow of work and productivity issues surrounding the three shifts. They also wanted to show employees that their work environment was truly being considered, so they conducted a survey of all employees in order to obtain a complete view of their issues and ensure that any program implemented would meet their needs, those of the union and yet be cost neutral for the company.
"Our employees were skeptical of the change and felt there must be something else prompting it," stated Connie Rush. "Coleman's consultants, who have successfully worked with unions and employees of all demographics, really helped us by working with the employees and relieving the skepticism."
"By working directly with the employees, they gained their trust and for the first time management and employees were able to discuss a change in an impartial manner," said Holmes.
The employees at Gallo Glass selected a twelve-hour schedule that gave them more days off and more long breaks a year. The union evaluated the proposed package and gave it a 75 percent approval vote. Within two and a half months of that approval, the new schedules were implemented and the results were very positive.
The initial 75 percent approval of the new schedule was an encouraging sign that the new schedules would deliver to Gallo what they sought for so many years. After six months of operating with the new 12-hour shift schedule, the union conducted another vote. This time the new schedule received an 85 percent approval rating. In addition, the employees were extremely vocal in expressing their positive views about the new schedule and proudly let management know how they felt.
Following are some quotes from Gallo Glass employees after the change:
"This is the best thing the company ever did."
"Everyone around here has a bounce in their step."
"If they took this away from us, everyone would quit."
"I had left a few months ago, but I came back now that
they implemented a new schedule."
The primary reason Gallo Glass sought an alternative to their previous work schedules was to make their employees lives happier. However, Gallo Glass realized many more benefits due to the change. The elimination of one disruptive shift change, along with improved morale has been an important part of increased productivity and lower injury rates.
“In order to attain our business goals, we need to keep our people happy. After seeing the positive results and increase in morale, this change is nothing short of priceless and we couldn’t have realized these benefits without Coleman Consulting,” stated Holmes.
Coleman Consulting is built around proven leaders from industry and academia with backgrounds in operations, organizational behavior, finance, economics, and change management. Our teams focus on the development and implementation of new methods for deploying capital and personnel that achieve significant cost savings and increased profits for our clients. Offices are located in the San Francisco and Dallas/Fort Worth areas.