A potential strike involving support workers at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center was averted on Friday when members voted to accept the latest proposal from management.
President Jeff Martens of IUE/CWA Local 89119 said the union’s 191 members at NSAWC ratified a new five-year contract. The previous contract expired at midnight Friday.
Contract negotiations between the union and the contractor, L-3 Vertex Aerospace, began Aug. 11, but Martens said both sides could not agree on the issues, particularly benefits and pay incentives. L-3 Vertex, which maintains its corporate offices in Madison, Miss., provides aviation and aerospace technical services, primarily for U.S. Government customers.
On Sept. 6, Martens said the membership unanimously voted to authorize a strike if an agreement could not be reached. Another round of bargaining occurred on Sept. 8. Two days later, the union presented the revised proposal to the membership, but Martens said the members rejected it.
Martens said the union was contacted by the contractor on the following day. Martens said he expressed the union’s concerns with the company and felt the thought process was for management to hear directly from the members.
“They called us Thursday around noon and wanted to know what was on Fallon’s mind,” Martens said. “When we were at the table, they listened to our concerns and asked us to take them (proposals) to the membership and vote.”
On Friday, Martens said the local members voted again on the contract and accepted it.
Martens said earlier last week both a strike and unfair contract was not being taken lightly by the membership.
If L-3 Vertex Aerospace or the union membership had stalled on talks, Martens said operations may have been affected in the future at NSAWC and throughout the Navy. According to its mission, NSAWC provides service to aircrews, squadrons and air wings throughout the United States Navy through flight training, academic instructional classes and direct operational and intelligence support.