Amarillo Nuclear Workers Accept Contract, End Historic Strike

10 06 2015 Pantex
IAM and other Metal Trades Council union members are back on the job after voting to accept a four-year contract at Pantex in Amarillo, TX.

Nearly 1,200 Metal Trades Council workers, including 550 IAM members, are back on the job after voting to accept a four-year contract with Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) Pantex in Amarillo, TX that improves medical coverage and short-term disability benefits while maintaining a defined benefit pension plan for current employees. Nearly nine-in-10 workers voted to strike the company on August 28, 2015.

IAM Collective Bargaining Coordinator Jim Price assisted Local 1255 members on the strike line for a majority of the 39-day work stoppage, the longest in the plant’s history. Not a single member broke the strike line.

“We maintained our insurance, we maintained new hire insurance, and we got the workers off the contributions to the pension,” Price told Amarillo News Channel 10. CNS Pantex had been demanding drastic health insurance concessions.

“This was a hard-fought battle,” said Metal Trades Council President Clarence Rashada. “This strike was never about wages. It was about holding onto hard-won benefits and protecting our members’ future.”

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) was brought in to help the cohort of nine unions come to an agreement with CNS Pantex.

“These were difficult and stressful negotiations for the employer and union representatives,” said Allison Beck, director of FMCS and former general counsel for the IAM. “In their discussions, labor and management were faced with complex issues and some very tough choices, which they were dedicated to resolving.”

The 1,200 workers at Pantex are responsible for the nuclear weapons life extension programs – weapons dismantlement; development, testing and fabrication of high explosives components; and storage and surveillance of plutonium pits. It is the only facility in the U.S. responsible for the assembly, disassembly and replenishment of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.