Nearly 600 machinists working at United Launch Alliance (ULA) are on strike against the company after they voted down a three-year contract offer from the company on Sunday.
The machinists, who are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), are employed at ULA facilities in Decatur, Ala.; Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla,; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
“It’s unfortunate that a company who makes a living off the backs of tax payer dollars would offer a substandard package for a highly skilled workforce,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary Allen prior to the vote. The union had recommended machinists reject the contract.
In a statement, ULA called the offer fair, competitive and in the best interest of the company and its employees.
“We’re disappointed that the IAM members rejected ULA’s last, best and final offer and voted to strike,” said Tory Bruno, ULA president and chief executive officer. “We believe our proposed contract is very competitive with other companies. Importantly, ULA’s final offer contributes to ULA’s long term viability in an increasingly competitive launch business environment.”
Union officials disagreed.
“The best-case scenario for both sides is when we are able to come to an agreement at the bargaining table. Unfortunately, in this case, that didn’t happen,” said Chief of Staff and Aerospace Negotiator Jody Bennett. “Although the contract does include some improvements, it just wasn’t enough for a group of working men and women who have made ULA the absolute safest company in the aerospace industry. Their offer did not clearly mirror the decades of hard work put forth by these machinists members.”
ULA’s said it would implement strike contingency plans and continue to operate at all three locations.