Union representing ULA workers gets historic 100% strike sanction vote
Union unanimously agrees to strike if the company can’t negotiate a fair contract
DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - WAFF 48 News is following the fallout of United Launch Alliance’s swift enforcement of the vaccine mandate. Now, the worker’s union is preparing for contract negotiation and for the first time in history, every single member voted yes to the strike sanction vote.
Every three or four years, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 44 Union negotiates a contract with United Launch Alliance. Union members vote ahead of time with the intent to see who is willing to go on strike if they can’t reach a fair contract. Union President David Story says usually 90 percent or more vote ‘yes.’ This time every single member said yes.
He says they feel taken advantage of. “Roughly two decades we have made concessions on every contract,” said Story. “We’ve given up pension, retiree healthcare, in some classification, we’ve agreed to a $20 per hour pay cut in the last contract to stay competitive with Space X.”
Story says the vaccine mandate enforcement was the last straw. He says they explicitly went back on contracts to fire 13 people.
“The vaccine mandate was just the nail in the coffin where we negotiated with the company over that mandate and had come to an agreement they would allow some deeply help religious and medical exemptions and the membership thought that was a fair and reasonable negotiation,” said Story. “The company completely reneged on that and I think that speaks to the way they’ve treated us for the past two decades. That we’re expendable, they don’t mind terminating us at the drop of a hat and I think everyone’s fed up with being treated like that.”
Workers have gone on strike before. They went on strike for two weeks the last time they negotiated their contract in 2018. They also went on strike over a decade earlier in 2005.
Story says they’re prepared to do it again if the company won’t agree to a fair contract. He says Contract negotiations start in mid-April.
ULA released this statement in response to the unanimous vote: “As we move into contract negotiations, ULA is committed to listen carefully and negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement while respecting seniority, work-life balance and the valuable talents and contributions of our world-class IAM-represented workforce.”
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