Union workers at United Launch Alliance facilities in Alabama, California and Florida rejected the company’s new three-year contract on Sunday only to have it take affect anyway when a vote to strike fell short, according to published reports.
The vote involved approximately 860 workers ULA’s production facility in Decatur, Ala., and its launch sites at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The workers are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) .
Even though the majority of workers followed the union’s recommendation to reject the new agreement, it went into effect on Monday morning anyway because the vote to strike fell short by five votes, union officials said. The failure of the strike vote means workers will continue to build and launch Atlas V and Delta IV rockets.
The IAMAW was upset over a new provision that excludes new hires from the ULA pension program but offers them 401K plans instead. In addition, workers will have to shoulder a greater part of health care costs. There are also concerns about outsourcing of work.
The company said the new agreement provides guaranteed pay increases over the next three years, continuation of annual cost of living adjustments, regional equity adjustments, and other benefits. Health care coverage also remains generous under the plan, the company says.
“We’re pleased that the employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have ratified an agreement that is key to continuing ULA’s success in the future,” said Michael Gass, ULA President and Chief Executive Officer. “The represented employees’ contributions have propelled ULA forward in delivering critical capabilities for our nation and our customers. The negotiating teams worked very hard to improve the pay and benefits for the represented employees and to maintain ULA’s competitiveness and operational efficiency.”