There’s a lot at stake right now. And the nearly 600 IAM Members who work at United Launch Alliance are acutely aware of that fact as Sunday, May 6, 2018, draws near. That’s the day Machinists members in all three locations, Decatur, AL, Vandenburg AFB and Cape Canaveral, Florida, will cast their vote to either accept or reject ULA’s last, best and final offer. Although the negotiating team did recommend to reject the proposal at the table, it’s the decision of the members on the ground to decide what happens next.
With more than 40 years in the Machinists Union, IAM’s Southern General Vice President Mark A. Blondin knows what is going through the minds of those preparing to vote. “Voting on a contract is one of the most important things we do as union members because it’s a decision that affects our family, the ones in which we work so hard to provide for and protect. But it’s an individual decision and one that should be decided at the kitchen tables of our members in their homes, surrounded by their loved ones. No matter what they choose, these Brothers and Sisters have the full support of the Fighting Machinists.”
“It’s unfortunate that a company who makes a living off the backs of tax payer dollars would offer a substandard package for a highly skilled workforce,” said Western Territory General Vice President Gary Allen. “Our members will have the last say on this offer and they have our unwavering support.”
“The skilled men and women at United Launch Alliance are taking a stand to save the U.S. space industry,” said International President Bob Martinez. “Machinists Union members made ULA into the industry leader it is today. We refuse to be disrespected. The full force of 600,000 Machinists Union members across North America stand with our members at ULA and we demand a fair contract.”
On Sunday, in a democratic process, ULA Machinists will decide what comes next. They could vote to accept the offer or vote to authorize a strike at each ULA location.
“The best-case scenario for both sides is when we are able to come to an agreement at the bargaining table. Unfortunately, in this case, that didn’t happen. Although the contract does include some improvements, it just wasn’t enough for a group of working men and women who have made ULA the absolute safest company in the Aerospace Industry. Their offer did not clearly mirror the decades of hard work put forth by these Machinists members,” said Chief of Staff and Aerospace Negotiator Jody Bennett.
The consensus at the table was clear when a unanimous vote spoke volumes to ULA.
“The committee agreed. They could not, with a clear conscious, bring ULA’s final proposal back home to the members with a recommendation to accept their offer. The final package just didn’t recognize the respect and dignity the IAM members at ULA deserve for the work they do,” said Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative Tony Wirth.
At this point, it’s up to the IAM members who perform the work that has made ULA the best in the business. But there’s always the chance that could change before a single vote is cast.
Aerospace Coordinator and lead negotiator Mark Johnson is quick to say, “The IAM is willing and able to meet with the Company at any time before Sunday to try to come to an agreement that works for both sides and continues to keep ULA as the baseline for performance in the Aerospace industry.”