First Contract Highlights IAM Bargaining Chops

The IAM Aerospace Territory and District 837 in St. Louis, MO joined forces recently to convert a successful organizing drive into a remarkable first contract that was unanimously ratified by the new members. The freshly minted bargaining unit includes 43 members who maintain heavy equipment for the United States Army and are employed by VSE Corporation in Hamlin, IL.

The three-year accord, which was ratified on November 1, includes wage increases that range from four percent to 40 percent in the first year; a four percent wage increase for all classifications in the second year; a four percent wage increase for all classifications in the third year as well as 11 paid holidays per year and 32 additional hours of paid time off each year. The contract also guarantees double time for Sunday work and provides for $5, $6, and $7 per hour in years 1, 2  and 3) for the purchase of health care.

The bargaining committee for new IAM members at VSE Corp. also achieved a significant degree of retirement security with a package that combines a 401K plan (with company match) and the IAM National Pension Plan at $1 per hour for each year of the new three-year agreement.

Rounding out the benefits contained in the first agreement is four days bereavement pay; lead pay of $1 per hour; $125 per year safety shoe reimbursement; dues check off; MNPL check off; Guide Dogs of America check off and a neutrality agreement for future organizing with the employer.

Aerospace Territory Special Representative Jody Bennett and District 837 Business Rep Earl Schuessler led the negotiations for the critical first contract. New members Vincent Masters and Jason Hampton from the workforce rounded out the negotiating team for the IAM.

“The support of the membership and extensive preparation by bargaining committee members Vincent, Jason, and Earl helped bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion,” said Bennett. “I want to also acknowledge DBR Gordon King and Secretary Treasurer DeWitt Darrity for their support throughout the organizing and negotiation process.”  

Aerospace Territory GVP Mark Blondin commended SR Bennett and everyone involved for a first agreement that sets the bar high for future first agreements in the industry. “The leadership and bargaining ability that SR Jody Bennett brings to the table certainly paid off for our new members at VSE.”  

“This contract is another example of why the IAM is leading the way in Service Contract Act (SCA) negotiations,” said Midwest Territory GVP Philip J. Gruber. “We have the resources and the experience in addition to thousands of members under IAM-negotiated SCA contracts who are willing to share their experiences.”