JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD – Mechanics who maintain military vehicles and related equipment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord have voted by a nearly 4-to-1 margin to join the Machinists Union.
The group includes heavy-duty vehicle mechanics, leads and supply technicians who work for defense contractor URS Federal Services at the base. Nearly 80 percent of those voting on Dec. 7 were in favor of joining Machinists Union District Lodge 751.
District 751 also represents hourly employees of JBLM contractors DOSS Aviation, L-3 Vertex, Eagle Systems, AAI Textron and L-3 Link Simulation, as well as another group of URS employees who work on helicopters and do site maintenance.
“I’m proud to welcome our new brothers and sisters to our union,” said District 751 President Tom Wroblewski. “Our district represents hundreds of civilian employees who work at JBLM, at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and at Fairchild Air Force Base. The work they do is essential to preserve America’s might, and they deserve the kind of pay and benefits that a Machinists Union contract can bring.”
The union has already started surveying the new members at URS to determine what their priorities will be in a first contract, and the members have nominated co-workers who will take part in negotiations, said Jesse Cote, who is an organizer with District 751.
The fact that another group of workers has voted for the Machinists Union to represent them in negotiations is “a testament to the work our District 751 representatives do,” Cote said.
Once the National Labor Relations Board certifies the election, the union will contact the company to set dates for the start of negotiations, and to request information negotiators will need to bargain intelligently over the workers’ issues, Cote said.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to get to our first contract,” he said. “But when we work together, through the union, we’ve got a great track record of improving wages, benefits and working conditions for our new members.”
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 33,000 working men and women at 48 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In December 2011, District 751 members working at Boeing ratified a four-year contract extension with the company that ensured the 737 MAX will be built in Renton.
To learn more about District 751, read the Machinists News.