“At this time of great uncertainty with the 737 Max, members of Local 839 voted to discuss an extension with the company. Today, they have made their decision to accept. Getting this contract by more than 7 per cent for general wage increases, an annual increase in the cost of living in basic wages, participation in bonus programs to obtain additional benefits, maintaining the national pension plan IAM, freezing health increases with protection against inflation, as well as maintaining job security and recall consultation is a great asset.” said Mark Blondin, General Vice President of the Aeronautics Department. “This is one of the best contracts in the aerospace industry and I am very proud of the negotiating team. This decision by The 839 members of Local ensures a stronger future for all Spirit employees as well as members of the Machinists Union. Aeronautics and space remain a strong and dynamic industry, born and cultivated by union members in Wichita. This team of negotiators has done a companion job. “The PRO Act is an extremely courageous law that modernizes federal laws and establishes mediation and arbitration procedures to help parties get a first contract,” said Robert Martinez Jr., president of the Union of Machinists International Jr. “It protects the right of workers to organize a union and negotiate for higher wages and better benefits.” The interim agreements provide the industry with the best protection against outsourcing and the safety of iron use. These agreements require immediate increases between 4% and 18%. These increases, combined with the 2016 interim wages, have increased pay rates from 23% to 53% since the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. These agreements also offer the industry`s best profit-sharing formula, which includes bonuses of $3,000 to $6,000, increases premium payments, maintains generous improvements in retirement plans, affordable health insurance options, and ensures each member`s work at their current location. “The negotiating team had the opportunity to quickly accept a substandard contract or to do the hard and laborious work to get the best possible contract,” said Sito Pantoja, president of the association, and alex Garcia, vice president.
“Together, the terms of these agreements after more than four years are proof that we have followed the right path and that we have obtained the best contracts in the aviation sector. We thank the members of the TWU-IAM association for their solidarity and patience. For more details on the agreements, click here. Additional information, including the full language of the contract, will be made available to all members prior to the scheduled vote. “In recent months, Local 839 members have had to deal with the grounding of the 737 Max and the recent layoffs,” said Rickey Wallace, IAM`s General Vice President of the Southern Territory. “This vote allowed members to be heard and to have a say in their future. We are proud of the work of the negotiating team in bringing this agreement to the members, which focuses on the priorities of the machinists at the workshop at Spirit AeroSystems. The three-year agreement addresses a number of workers` concerns expressed by members through surveys and town hall meetings, including maintaining affordable health care, which was a priority for Spirit staff. The contract leaves the current central medical plan for the duration of the contract, with the share of staff remaining at 20 per cent as before. Another great advantage is that the contract supports future health care costs, with a negotiated cap for premium increases of 7%. This means that the company will pay the difference and not the workers if health care costs rise by more than 7 per cent due to inflation. Wages were another area of improvement for bargaining unit members.
General wage increases of 7.5% will be visible over the past three years, as well as improvements in cost-of-living adjustments (COLA).