The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

February 6, 2013

Fix the problem: Vance Air Force Base pay situation needs to be resolved

ENID, Okla. — The situation involving pay for employees of a Vance Air Force Base subcontractor needs to be fixed.

And, soon.

Employees of Project Resources Inc./Del-Jen Inc. have seen their paychecks shrink after a change was made in their health insurance on Jan. 1.

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 carrier. That apparently has caused the paycheck irregularities, though the rest of the companies involved handled the switch with no problems.

Employees who didn’t want their identities used for fear of reprisal have said their paychecks were cut by as much as $1,000 — and, in fact, at least one employee ended up owing the company money.

They are having to receive help from local food banks, are missing payments and trying to figure out what bills to pay and what ones to let slide.

There is no excuse for this to drag on this long.

To make matters worse, PRI/DJI officials haven’t been forthcoming with much information, to media inquiries and to employees.

Conflicting information also came from the IAMAW this week. One report had the company admitting to making a mistake and would try to get paychecks right by Feb. 15. Another report said it could be March 1 before the situation is resolved.

That’s inexcusable.

There obviously was a problem, and company officials need to get it corrected now. They also need to get the back pay owed to employees to them as quickly as possible.

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