Hawaii Defense Workers Urge Senator Hirono to Fix Worker Travel Cuts

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.

Arnold Air Force Base Metal Trades Council Member Earl Tuck Dies

We lost a dear friend and union activist today. Earl Tuck, IAM&AW member and a 28 year employee at USAF Arnold Air Engineering Command in Tullahoma, Tennessee died early this morning from massive heart attack.
Brother Tuck served the MTC in many positions over his long and distinguished career at Arnold AFB. Our condolences go out to Brother Tuck’s family and friends as well as our entire Metal Trades Council leadership team at Arnold.
A friend, a colleague and an advocate, Earl will be sorely missed by all of us.
Rest in peace my friend,
Ron Ault
President

Portland Metal Trades Council Ratifies New Contract at Cascade General

The Portland Metal Trades Council (PMTC) ratified a new two-year agreement May 28, 2015, with Cascade General. The vote was 74-41. This was the third contract vote for the 184 workers represented by the PMTC, a coalition of 10 craft unions at the shipyard on Swan Island. The previous contract expired on November 30, 2014.

The new two-year agreement expires Nov. 30, 2016. The contract adds $1.40 per hour to the overall package the first year, and $1.25 per hour the second year.

Workers can choose their preferred medical plan—either a 90-10 deductible plan through Regence Blue Cross or the current Kaiser Permanente plan, or an 80-20 deductible plan with Regence. Workers who choose the 80-20 plan will get a $1.02 an hour increase on their check. Those choosing the 90-10 plan will see a 20-cent per our wage increase.

Workers will also receive a one-time lump sum payment of $300 on December 1, 2015 to offset the cost of health insurance. Workers must log a minimum of 80 hours in a month to qualify for the medical plan.

Columbus Metal Trades Volunteers Help Prevent Electrical Shock Hazards at Florence Marina State Park

Columbus Metal Trades Volunteers Help Prevent Electrical Shock Hazards at Florence Marina State Park

volunteers_inspect_wiring

Columbus MTC volunteer

Nashville, TN – Under the banner of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) Work Boots on the Ground program, members of the Columbus Metal Trades Council (CMTC) volunteered their time and skills on Saturday, Feb. 21, to inspect six boat docks and 66 boat slips at Florence Marina State Park for electrical hazards and make needed repairs, saving the park $1,500 to $2,000.

James Carr, Curtis Culpepper and Mike Culpepper, members of Electrical Workers Local 613, along with project leader Dave Hall, a member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 85, and Trish Carr looked for exposed wiring, broken receptacle covers, bad ground fault circuit interrupters and other hazards that could put boat slip tenants and park visitors at risk.

Launched in 2010, Work Boots on the Ground brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to projects that conserve wildlife habitat, educate future generations of sportsmen and women, improve public access to the outdoors or restore America’s parks.  Sitting at the northern end of 45,000-acre Lake Walter F. George in Omaha, GA, Florence Marina State Park is popular among a variety of outdoor enthusiasts, especially anglers and boaters.  As with most state parks, it is managed with a tight budget.

“If there were any exposed wires or other electrical issues, and a renter or guest slipped into the water, it could cause serious bodily injury.  The inspection helps prevent hazards and minimize risks,” said Tracy Yearta, park manager of Florence Marina State Park and Providence Canyon State Park.  “Lots of these projects have to be funded by the department and, with funding the way it is, it’s very critical to bring in outside resources.  Their [CMTC volunteers] skills and leadership ability is exactly what we need.”

Yearta first saw their skills and leadership in action in 2014 when CMTC volunteers cleared a 7-mile hiking trail and restored scenic views at nearby Providence Canyon State Park—Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon.

According to Hall, “Everybody was happy doing it…there was a sense of pride in knowing that we helped out the local community.  The very next month at our meeting, everybody was exciting, smiling, happy.  Some of the same volunteers wanted to do another project.”

This summer and fall, the volunteers will renovate Florence Marina State Park’s waste water treatment facility and install additional campsites at the park.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit http://www.unionsportsmen.org/or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Workers at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Ratify New Four Year Contract

The Philadelphia Metal Trades Council (PMTC) announced today that workers voted to ratify a new four-year collective bargaining agreement at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc., the sole operating subsidiary of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard ASA.

“This contract ratification is another example of successful collaboration between union and management, and a clear example of how cooperation keeps organizations moving forward,” said Lou Agre, President of the Philadelphia Metal Trades Council.

The Philadelphia Metal Trades Council is the sole bargaining representative for production and maintenance employees at Aker and consists of ten unions.

PMTC is a Council chartered under the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO. 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.

Union Workers Extend Contract at Ingalls Shipyard

Washington, DC— The unionized workforce at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Gulf Coast’s largest employer, Ingalls Shipbuilding. The deal ensures guaranteed raises, expanded health care options and twelve paid days off.

“It’s a good contract and the workers voted to ratify overwhelmingly,” said Mike Crawley, president of the Pascagoula Metal Trades Council.

Under the deal, union journeyman-level workers will receive two 60-cent raises, one 75-cent raise, and a $1,250 ratification bonus. Workers classified below journeyman status will receive proportionate raises. The agreement also includes the potential for cost-of-living increases of up to 3 percent in each period of the contract’s extension.

“If all shipyards had the good sense like Ingalls to collaborate with their workers, we’d see a safer, happier workforce, better ships, and more cost savings in the manufacturing process,” said Ron Ault, president of the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, which is the umbrella organization of the unions representing the workers. “Shipbuilding is one of the most dangerous occupations, but the yards we represent maintain a higher standard of safety and health, wages, benefits, and employee engagement. We are proud of our continued collaboration with Ingalls Shipyard.”

The Pascagoula Metal Trades Council has an 80-year history of collective bargaining at this location. The contract at Ingalls sets the wage standard for shipbuilding on the Gulf Coast.

Edmond Hughes, Ingalls’ vice president of human resources and administration, agrees, telling reporters that Ingalls labor-management collaboration is “another example of how we continue to work together to ensure we provide the best opportunities for our shipbuilders and at the same time position our shipyard to compete for future contracts.”

“The Navy should take note of the work that Ingalls is performing. The wages, working conditions, and labor-management relations make it one of the best employers in Mississippi and the entire Gulf Coast,” said Ault. “Navy procurement officers should look to companies that respect their workers, as Ingalls does, when they are awarding shipbuilding contracts.”

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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.