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June 5, 2009

Union votes to strike

The union representing some 775 employees of CSC Applied Technologies LLC and three sub-contractors at Vance Air Force Base voted overwhelmingly Friday night to strike.

The union’s three-year contract with CSC and its sub-contractors, PRI/DJI, DenMar Services and M1 Support Services, expires at midnight Sunday. That means union members will begin picketing at 12:01 a.m. Monday near Vance, if an agreement can’t be reached over the weekend.

Members of Inter-national Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 898 cast two separate votes Friday. The first was to accept or reject the company’s final contract offer. That vote was 666 to decline the contract, and 28 to accept, a 96 percent rejection of CSC’s “last, best and final offer.”

The second vote was whether or not to strike. There were 655 votes to strike, with 41 no votes, a 94 percent vote for a work stoppage. Both votes drew cheers from those gathered to watch volunteers tally ballots in the union hall, while chants of “strike, strike, strike,” erupted after the final vote total was announced.

“In the union’s opinion, the work force at Vance Air Force Base has declared their disregard and dislike of the company proposal, and that they are prepared to strike them over that negative proposal,” said Jerry McCune, president and directing business representative for IAMAW District Lodge 171, of which Local 898 is a part.

McCune said the union is ready to go back to the bargaining table before the current agreement, adopted in 2006, expires at midnight Sunday. That will only occur, however, if the company brings forth another proposed contract.

“We are here ready to bargain for a good contract to avoid the strike,” McCune said, “and we have identified that to all parties involved. All we want is the current contract language and a fair and equitable wage and benefit package. With those two things we can get to an agreement before the midnight deadline June 7. Hopefully the company will get the message this proposal was not proper.”

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