WASHINGTON, D.C. —The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) announced today that labor negotiations between Pantex/Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) and the Metal Trades Council in Amarillo, Texas have been temporarily recessed at the request of the federal mediator overseeing the talks to give the parties an opportunity to review new information and engage in internal discussions.
“The parties met this past week and spent many hours in meaningful talks, focused on their mutual efforts to bridge their differences” said FMCS Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh. “This temporary recess is necessary in order to allow the parties to assess the new information provided and explore additional avenues for possible resolution. The parties will reconvene next week at a time and location to be determined.”
Because of the sensitivity and the critical importance of the discussions, both the employer and the unions have agreed to a request by FMCS to refrain from commenting to the news media regarding the status and substance of the talks. In keeping with Agency policy and practice, the FMCS will also have no further comment regarding the status and substance of the talks.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, created in 1947, is an independent U.S. government agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 10 district offices and more than 60 field offices, the agency provides mediation and conflict resolution services to industry, government agencies
CORRECTION: The original post of this release stated that the meeting would be held September 28, that date is incorrect. No date has been decided upon at this time.
For Immediate Release: September 16, 2015
Contact: Ron Ault, 202-508-3705
Or Clarence Rashada, 806-674-1763
Amarillo, TX—In a somewhat unusual move, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) Director Allison Beck has called DOE contractor Consolidated Nuclear Services and the Amarillo Metal Trades Council (MTC) back to the bargaining table in an effort to resolve the dispute that led to a strike at the Pantex nuclear weapons facility in Amarillo, TX.
In a statement released by the FMCS, Beck states: “While FMCS has been monitoring the situation closely and mediation is normally a completely voluntary process, we cannot stand by and let this critical nuclear weapons facility continue to experience a work stoppage.”
Beck has assigned Deputy Director Scot L. Beckenbaugh as the Federal Mediator.
The move is welcome news to Metal Trades Department President Ron Ault and Amarillo MTC President Clarence Rashada, however both are cautious in their optimism that a resolution will be met.
“This strike has never been about wages,” says Rashada. “It has always been about maintaining the benefits that we have earned and bargained for in previous collective bargaining agreements.”
“I’m pleased that the FMCS has stepped in to assist us in these negotiations,” says Ault. “These workers deserve a fair and equitable contract that includes benefits commensurate with the service they provide our nation.”
Metal Trades Council-represented workers at Pantex are responsible for the nuclear weapons life extension programs: weapons dismantlement; development, testing and fabrication of high explosives components; and storage and surveillance of plutonium pits. This is the only facility in the U.S. responsible for the assembly, disassembly and replacement of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.
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The Metal Trades Department is a trade department of the AFL-CIO. It was chartered in 1908 to coordinate negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metalworking and related crafts and trade unions. Seventeen national and international unions are affiliated with the MTD today. More than 100,000 workers in private industry and federal establishments work under contracts negotiated by MTD Councils. Workers retain membership in their own trade unions.
The Amarillo Metal Trades Council is a10-union Council within the Metal Trades Department that represents roughly 1,200 Pantex workers. The unions include: International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE); United Association (UA); International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers(IBB); Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART); International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT); Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU); International Association of Fire Fighters.
Union President says that Senator Hirono plays a “key role” in this effort
HONOLULU, HI – As the United States Congress continues to negotiate a final Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) National Defense Authorization (NDAA) package, workers at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Naval Facilities Pacific & Hawaii and Defense POW MIA Accounting Agency are urging Senator Mazie Hirono, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, to leverage her influence and role as an NDAA negotiator to help overturn last year’s DOD implemented cuts to employee and military travel per diem and lodging expenses. The workers, hundreds of whom signed letters this week to Senator Hirono, will face a whopping 25% cut in per diem and lodging expenses for travel in excess of thirty days.
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 121 President/Hawaii Metal Trades Council (HMTC) Vice President, Jamie Hiranaka, provided the following comment on the effort of her members to overturn the travel cuts:
“First of all, we are grateful to Congressman Takai for leveraging his position on the House Armed Services Committee to successfully champion language in the House NDAA that fully repeals these harmful travel cuts for our civilian members, and for military travelers. Unfortunately though the same cannot be said of the Senate NDAA, which not only did not include a reversal of the travel policy, it actually supports these damaging cuts. However, the fight on this matter is not over yet, as defense authorizers are currently negotiating a final NDAA package that could still include Representative Takai’s repeal language. Senator Hirono serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and is in a key role to champion the bipartisan Takai language to reverse the employee travel cuts. This is exactly what the letters from Senator Hirono’s constituents are asking her to do.
“These cuts to long-term TDY travel penalize employees who are required to travel for long periods of time, and who spend a significant amount of time away from their homes and families. These workers should not have to worry about whether or not we will have enough money for both our personal responsibilities at home as well as to cover basic necessities such as food and lodging while on official travel and while doing the critical work necessary to support the fleet. We are hopeful that Senator Hirono will ensure that these cuts are reversed by fighting for Congressman Takai’s house language that overturn this unfair DOD travel policy.”
Effective November 1, 2014, DOD made changes to the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) that included a 25% cut to both the per diem allowance and the lodging stipend for travel in excess of 30 days, and a 45% cut for travel longer than 180 days. IFPTE Local 121 and the HFEMTC have been working for the better part of 2015 to get these harmful cuts overturned.