ULA employees on strike in Decatur

ULA employees on strike in Decatur
The employees will return to work after being on strike since May 7. (Source: ULA)

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Some workers at one of Decatur's most advanced workplaces are walking the picket lines.

Whenever you hear of employees going on strike, you often think they are demanding more money. This is not the case for some workers at the United Launch Alliance facility in Decatur. This strike is about something a little more personal.

Employees for ULA voted against a new contract drawn up by the company Sunday night.

"First of all, it's not about the money, it's about their working conditions." said Tony Wirth, the grand lodge representative for Southern Territory. He said those working conditions include being forced to travel hundreds of miles.

About half of ULA's 600 Decatur employees are affected by that possibility.

"They're now being forced to travel to each coast. They're headed to Florida at Cape Canaveral or over to Vandenberg and they can be forced to go up to 30 days at a time." said Wirth.

After those 30 days, these employees could be asked to go back out to these locations for another 30 days, once again leaving behind their families, something that is not currently in the contracts for hourly employees.
United Launch Alliance said in a statement on their website that they "believe the offer is fair, competitive, and in the best interest of both ULA and its employees." The statement goes on to say "we believe our proposed contract is very competitive with other companies."

According to Wirth, however, this goes a little deeper than just forced travel. "It's also about the company having the ability to sub-contract out their work while they're in a training status. It's also about management being able to do their work now, these are all things that have not been like this in the past."

What changes do these employees want to see come from this strike?

"We would like to get back to the table with the company and try to work out the areas that we're far apart on and that being one of them travel." said Wirth.

Employees are prepared to strike until a new deal is made.

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