IAM Local Lodge 2902 Negotiating Committee (L to R) Porter Timmons, Rigo Contreras and Vince Hernandez
Before a pilot can hit the skies, he or she needs to practice and ends up logging a lot hours on flight simulators before ever leaving the ground. These training machines have become invaluable tools for pilots. And taking care of these simulators is a very important task that the members of the IAMAW have been doing proudly for close to a decade.
“A Union contract isn’t just about dollars and cents. A lot of time the benefits of an IAM contract is found in the details. Although a raise is always good for union families, our members realize that strengthening work rules and bringing classifications together creates rewards that will last generations, showing the company that we are sincere in our solidarity to the labor movement and our cause,” said IAM’s Southern Territory General Vice President Mark A. Blondin.
The IAM bargaining unit at Fidelity Technologies Corporation consists of members in three separate classifications who work as Simulator Technicians. These workers perform preventive maintenance and repairs to the simulators used by pilots in the U.S. Armed Services and U.S. Coast Guard at NAS Whiting Field located in Florida’s panhandle. From the surveys, it was clear these members needed and wanted a wage increase. But a closer look at the details of the contract made it clear other changes needed to happen as well.
“When Fidelity was awarded the contract, some of the members were reclassified and ended up taking a pay cut. Our goal was to attempt to get some of that back and we did, with a little extra”, said Brad Smith, District 75 Business Representative. “We were able to get increases for all classifications, which worked out to about a nine percent rise in wages over the three years of this agreement, as well as additional money for the pension and health and welfare increases.”
But this Negotiating Committee didn’t stop there. Together, they were able to secure items such as company funding for computer certifications, improvements to sick and personal time and clarified overtime language and rules.
“When presented to the members, this first-time committee was applauded for all the improvements in this proposal. That’s not something you see all the time,” said Smith happily. “It was a proud moment for Local Lodge 2902, IAM District 75 and the Machinists Union when the members recognize the value of their hard work.”