On Friday, members of the Air Engineering Metal Trades Council (AEMTC) officially went on an Unfair Labor Practice Strike citing bad faith bargaining practices by the Tullahoma, Tennessee company. Calling for fair wages and reasonable health care costs, as well as maintenance of the current long term disability agreement between NAS, subcontractor Chugach, and the AEMTC, workers walked out at 1 pm on July 2.

“The AEMTC is prepared to stay out for as long as it takes to achieve a fair and equitable settlement,” said James Hart, President of the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, the umbrella organization that oversees more than 30 Metal Trades Councils in the United States and Canada.

“It is imperative that our members at AEMTC are paid wages and healthcare benefits that provide for their families economic wellbeing and retain dependable and affordable long term disability coverage that is commensurate with the risk and dangerous work they perform. The AEMTC cannot in good conscience bargain away any of the hard-earned, long-term disability benefits,” said Hart.

Metal Trades Council President Alvin Cleek added, “workers deserve a living wage, one that keeps up with inflation. If NAS and Chugach want to increase the members’ share of health care costs, then they need to pay us a wage that allows us to absorb that increase. Management has indicated, without any justification, that the company will not provide our members with the wage and benefit package they deserve.”

AEMTC Negotiations Committee Chairman and Council Vice President Allen Gardner further noted that “newly hired skilled tradespeople must be paid an appropriate wage based upon their skills and experience. It’s unfortunate that NAS/Chugach refuses to recognize that stark fact by refusing to negotiate a fair and equitable settlement to a practice that its workforce finds disdainful and degrading.”

AEMTC is the sole bargaining agent for union affiliates and represents approximately 690 skilled workers at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC).

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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.