August 5, 2015
By John Quinn
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania – Workers employed by Bowhead Support Group LLC at Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg Pennsylvania voted overwhelmingly for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) in a union representation election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The group of nearly 1,000 workers at Letterkenny includes welders, electricians and machinists in addition to vehicle and equipment repair technicians. The vote was 485-144 in favor of the IAM. Under NLRB election rules, results are determined by a simple majority of those casting ballots.
“I’ve been a union member at another employer, and I’ve seen first-hand how collective bargaining can stabilize a workplace and give workers a voice on the job,” said Terry "T-bone" Young, a 7 1/2-year Warehouse Specialist at the Letterkenny facility “The only real way to protect our wages, healthcare benefits and seniority rights is with an IAM contract.”
Stagnant wages, reduced benefits and sharp increases to healthcare costs were among the key issues that triggered the year-long organizing effort. Additional issues included job bidding and arbitrary layoffs without regard to seniority or ability.
“I’d like to welcome the new members from Bowhead. They recognized IAM representation and a collective bargaining agreement as the best way to improve their careers and the economic security of their families,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn Tucker, Jr. “This campaign had to overcome some very large hurdles to be successful.”
***The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is one of the largest industrial trade unions in North America, representing nearly 600,000 active and retired members.