In early July, members of the Air Engineering Metal Trades Council (AEMTC) went on an unfair labor practice strike against Bechtel majority owned company, National Aeronautic Solutions/ Chugash LLC, resulting in a two-week work stoppage at the Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma, Tennessee.
AEMTC representatives cited bad faith bargaining practices and contempt by the company for the council in its pursuit during negotiations for fair wages, maintenance and control over health care premiums, benefits and dignity in the workplace for this highly skilled workforce as the motivation for the strike.
The company NAS/Chugash had sought to cut employee coverage from 18 months to 12 months, which metal trades workers deemed to be a non-starter for them. Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart said, “Strikers specifically took issue with proposed management cuts to employer/employee cost sharing plans and benefits to long term disability insurance plans that workers and their families depend upon. These are some of the most dangerous jobs in the country and after two-weeks, I am pleased to report that the work stoppage at Arnold Air Force Base has been settled.”
“The new contract, ratified by a three-to-one majority of the council members on Friday, July 16 represents the best ever collective bargaining agreement on a prime base contract at Arnold Air Force Base,” said Hart.
The contract provides the following:
1. A three-year deal with yearly general wage increases of 3.25%, 3% and 3%.
2. Removal of a 5% cap on Company/ Union 80/20 shared health care premiums.
3. Maintenance of existing contract language on important Individual Disability Policy.
4. Substantially reduced a 40-year wage progression practice by the company which demeaned and exploited the skills of new hires with contract language that provided for a starting pay of 80% of the top tier wage and three years to top out regardless of training and experience.
5. Provided for sick pay to new employees starting on day one of employment.
6. Increase caps on employee vacation banks.
7. Eight language changes in contract that benefit workforce.
8. No concessions.
The more than 700 workers covered under the agreement will returned to work on Wednesday, July 21.