Members of Old Pueblo Local 933 in Tucson, AZ have a new three-year contract with Raytheon Missile Systems that includes a $750 signing bonus, stronger seniority language and some of the highest wages in the state for nearly 1,600 IAM-represented workers.
In addition to three annual wage increases of 2.75 percent, 2.75 percent and 2.5 percent, the new contract also contains a guarantee that health care premiums for members cannot increase more than 12 percent annually.
“The protection of affordable health care benefits was a priority for our members in these negotiations,” said Local 933 Directing Business Representative Jim “Jimbo” Watson. “It doesn’t do much good to negotiate good wages if they can be wiped out by steep increases in health care premiums.”
In 2008, Local 933 won national recognition with a successful lawsuit to protect retiree health care benefits for IAM members at Raytheon.
At issue was an effort by Raytheon to eliminate health care benefits for employees who retired before the standard retirement age of 65. Retiree health care coverage, which was negotiated in the contract between Raytheon and the IAM, was a key incentive for many employees who took early retirement. In a ruling that was estimated to be worth as much as $12 million to retirees, Raytheon was ordered to resume coverage for eligible employees and to compensate hundreds of retirees for health care premiums they paid after their coverage was terminated.
Prior to the latest round of bargaining with Raytheon representatives, members of the Local 933 Negotiations Committee attended the Negotiation Preparation for Bargaining Committee class at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education Center. Contract talks began earlier this month aimed at reaching a new agreement before the current contract expired on October 28, 2012.
“The preparations for this newest contract with Raytheon began months ago,” said Western Territory GVP Gary Allen, who took part in the official opening of negotiations. “The Local 933 Bargaining Committee did an excellent job of identifying and addressing the members’ key issues throughout the process. They deserve the thanks of the membership for undertaking a difficult job and producing a contract that proves the value of preparation, communication and solidarity.”
For more information, visit www.iam933.org