United Launch Alliance workers vote to go on strike

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--  Sunday, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers voted to reject a United Launch Alliance contract offer and have decided to go on strike.

IAM represents employees in Decatur. It also represents those at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

IAM representatives informed us the members began assembling Sunday evening to picket ULA starting at midnight Monday morning.

ULA released a statement on Sunday saying the union and company have been negotiating "in good faith" since April 16, 2018.

"ULA believes its offer is fair, competitive and in the best interest of both ULA 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.”

ULA's statement said its operations would remain open and will implement strike contingency plans.

The union that represents workers at ULA posted a message on Facebook Sunday evening:

Mr. Bruno is a very generous and benevolent man. "our proposed contract was very competitive." says Mr. Bruno. What Mr. Bruno doesn't seem to acknowledge is that the ULA workers aren't striking over money. They rejected that contract because they refuse to be treated like commodities. We are people Mr. Bruno, NOT RESOURCES! You don't use us up and throw us away. There are hundreds of people that built ULA into what it is today, long before you arrived. We will be here long after you depart.

IAM Aerospace Lodge 44 said ULA workers aren't striking over money. Instead, it said, "They rejected that contract because they refuse to be treated like commodities."

IAM sent this statement Monday:

Nearly 600 Machinist Union Members at United Launch Alliance have overwhelmingly voted to enter into a strike against United Launch Alliance, which began at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 7, 2018. The strike is taking place at ULA facilities in Decatur, Ala., Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and Cape Canaveral, Fla.
“Our members have delivered the reliability and experience that has helped United Launch Alliance create a world-class U.S. space program,” said Machinists Union International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The Machinists Union members at ULA connect the world with our beautiful universe. This strike is centered around many issues, but above all has amplified the message that our members want to be valued and respected in the workplace. The full force of 600,000 Machinists Union members across North America stand with our members at ULA.”
“The Machinists Union to proud to stand behind the 600 ULA Members and their families who have made the tough decision to stand up for our Brothers and Sisters across the Nation by choosing to walk a picket line instead of remaining silent and inactive when the rights of Workers are at stake,” said IAMAW’s Southern General Vice President Mark A. Blondin.  “The Company left this group of Union Members no other choice when they offered an agreement which did not reflect the incredible talents and contributions of these hard-working and loyal Machinists.  The Southern Territory will do whatever it takes to take care of our Brothers and Sisters who are walking to stand up for the rights of working men and women around the globe.”
Our members have spoken, and we honor their voice,” said IAMAW Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “It’s now up to ULA to enhance their offer to meet the needs of these highly skilled workers."