CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have voted to accept a new four-year contract offer by the United Launch Alliance. ULA workers have been on strike since May 7. Nearly 600 workers will return to work on Monday.
"Everyone's pleased to be able to return to work. Everybody's sad and disappointed it took a strike to get to where we are today," said Matt Griggs, an IAM business representative.
IAM represents employees in Decatur. It also represents those at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Negotiations on the new contract officially started April 16 and ended April 26. On May 6 the ratification vote was held in all geographical locations covered by this contract and the employees voted to go on strike. Following meetings on May 15 and 16, union negotiators recommended the new contract and members voted to accept the new contract on Saturday.
Union representatives say the company made big movements towards the issues that many workers had with the original contract.
“We are pleased that the IAM represented employees have ratified this agreement that is so critical to continuing ULA’s success,” said Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO.
The problems addressed included subcontracting that compromised job security, inadequate insurance policies and most importantly inconvenient traveling.
"They were giving notice ultimately for 30-day travel. Then you could come back home and then 72 hours later you could be forced to travel again for another 30 days," said Griggs.
Members won't be forced to travel to different sites unless they choose to. Decatur based workers will also receive an additional $4 per hour if they should choose to travel.
“We believe this contract will help secure our place as the go-to provider for launching people and one-of-a-kind payloads into space well into the future. We are excited and proud to work alongside an engaged team that is setting the standard for innovation and excellence in the space industry,” Bruno added.
"They make ULA the number one rocket company in the world. They're the safest rocket company in the world and the men and women actually got a contract they deserve," said Griggs.
Union representatives say this isn't just a win for Decatur, but a win for all three ULA sites.