May 1, 2014
By Neal Tepel
Washington, D.C. – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) have won an important organizing victory for 450 military helicopter mechanics, technicians and maintenance personnel employed by L3 at the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Corpus Christi, TX.
“Our organizers were able to overcome the anti-union bias that is promoted in some southern states by providing concrete examples of what IAM contracts have already secured for similar workers throughout the South,” said IAM Southern Territory Vice President Mark Blondin. “The IAM also has a history in the South that goes back 126 years, with well-established bargaining relationships in shipbuilding, defense and aerospace.”
Blondin credited the union’s months-long education campaign for ensuring workers at L3 knew their legal rights and understood the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement.
“The men and women at L3 haven’t had a raise in a long time, and they’re concerned about changes to benefits and job security,” said IAM Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative Ramon Garcia, who helped coordinate the organizing effort. “They know a contract can address these issues in a professional manner while giving them the respect they deserve as skilled technicians.”
The L3 employees voted for IAM representation by a solid 68 percent margin on April 2 in a day-long election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The group will join IAM Local 2916, which already has over 500 members under six contracts at the adjoining Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.
“It’s a real privilege to welcome these employees into the IAM,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Texas and Texans have a well-earned reputation for independence, but nothing beats collective strength and collective bargaining when it comes to winning better pay and benefits on the job.”
The IAM is one of the largest industrial trade unions in North America, representing more than 600,000 active and retired members in dozens of industries.