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June 9, 2009

Strike at Vance AFB continues, with no contact between union, CSC, subcontractors

The strike against the primary civilian contractor at Vance Air Force Base and three subcontractors stretched into a second day Tuesday with no contact between representatives of the company and the union.

Vance’s fleet of training planes remained grounded after normal flying operations were suspended Monday as a result of the strike.

“It is a waiting game,” said John Crowdis, aerospace coordinator for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Members of IAMAW Local Lodge 898 voted overwhelmingly Friday night to reject the latest contract offer from CSC and subcontractors PRI/DJI, DenMar Services and M1 Support Services, and to go on strike once the existing three-year contract expired at midnight Sunday.

Crowdis said the biggest objections Local 898’s elected negotiating committee had to the company’s proposal were non-economic. The company, he said, proposed 62 non-economic contract changes, most involving work rules.

Among those proposals was what Crowdis called a “radical attendance control system.” Under the company’s proposal, workers would need a supervisor’s approval to take personal time off. That is a problem, he said, since CSC cut its work force twice in 2008, laying off 30 employees at one time and 42 another.

“People are working 12-hour shifts with five- and six-day work weeks,” Crowdis said. “With everybody stretched so thin, they can’t get time off work now.”

Another issue involves drug testing. The just-expired contract mandated drug testing of an employee in the wake of an accident if there was any appearance the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The company’s proposal would mandate testing of all employees involved in an accident, whether or not there was any appearance of being under the influence.

“Say your supervisor bumped into you and you fell over a chair and you got hurt,” Crowdis said. “And, say he sent you to the hospital, whether or not you wanted to go. Not only would they drug test you, but you would be charged for being away from work.”

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