The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 1, 2013

Pay shorted: 'Administrative mess-up' affects Vance employees' paychecks

By Jeff Mullin, Senior Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — This has been a rough year thus far for employees of Project Resources Inc./Del-Jen Inc. at Vance Air Force Base.

A number of employees of the sub-contractor for CSC Applied Technologies LLC have seen their paychecks shrink as the result of what one official called an administrative problem.

Last June, a new three-year collective bargaining agreement was approved by members of the union representing most contract employees at Vance, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 898. Under the new CBA, each company covered by the contract — CSC, DenMar Services, M1 Support Services and PRI/DJI — has the same health, dental and vision insurance, provided by IMA Benefit Trust. Previously, each company’s employees were insured by a different company. That apparently has caused the paycheck shortages, though the rest of the companies involved apparently handled the switch with no problem.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, employees talked of paychecks that were far below what they were bringing home prior to Jan. 1, when their insurance changed.

One woman who does not work for the company, but who has friends who do, says one single mother with three children received a paycheck of only $100, while another worker had $1,016 cut from her check.

“She doesn’t understand why,” said the friend, “she can’t get answers.”

A male employee said his check was cut $450 for one pay period and $700 another, and said one of his female co-workers received a check for zero dollars.

Another female employee said her normal $1,400 take-home pay has been cut to $700, and she told of a male co-worker who “ended up owing the company money.”

“When you are used to bringing home about $1,400 every two weeks and you get $700 instead, how do you pay your bills?” she said.

John Harris, program manager for CSC, the lead contractor at Vance, said he is “confident” the situation will be resolved soon, and called the situation “an administrative mess-up.”

Jon Hulsey, program director for PRI/DJI at Vance, said he was not authorized to comment on the situation and referred questions to the company’s corporate offices. Tim Kirk, director of Human Resources at Del-Jen’s corporate headquarters in Clarksville, Tenn., said Del-Jen is part of Fluor Corp., and he needed to check with Fluor officials before commenting, though no return call was received.

A conference call is scheduled Monday between local company officials and PRI/DJI’s headquarters to discuss the situation.

“The union says it is the company’s fault and the company says it’s the union’s fault the way the insurance was set up,” said a male employee.

“Why did just one company get it all screwed up,” said an anonymous female employee. “The company says, ‘We are right, the union screwed it all up. But four other companies got it right.”

She added the new collective bargaining agreement prohibits union members from striking for a full year.

“That’s why we haven’t gone out on strike,” she said.

Rick Boardman, new IAMAW District Lodge 171 president and directing business representative, said he couldn’t comment at this time.

One local church, North Garland Church of Christ, has offered to help affected PRI/DJI workers, and the unnamed female employee said CSC workers had taken up a collection to help their PRI/DJI colleagues.

“It has been a month now,” she said. “It is a shame to work for one of the highest paying places in town and have to go to a food bank.”