IAM Welcomes New Orleans Aircraft Maintenance Workers

02 16 12 strategic technologies
New members (l to r) Al Ortriz, Rick Miller, Frank Puydak and Howard Galarza were among a group of aircraft maintenance workers in New Orleans, LA who stood up to threats, intimidation and harrassment to win collective bargaining rights with the IAM.

A determined group of aircraft maintenance workers employed at the Strategic Technologies Institute at the Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans, LA voted overwhelmingly for the IAM recently.

“These workers went a long time without proper raises or increases in benefits,” said Southern Territory Organizing Lead Tommy Mayfield. “In late 2011 they were told their health insurance costs would triple. That was the last straw and they contacted the IAM.”

Company officials opposed the organizing effort with tactics ripped straight from the union-busting handbook.

“The day we filed the petition for an election, the company held an all-hands meeting and made several threats if they persisted in advocating for a union, and the next day the majority of the workers were disciplined,” said Mayfield. “We have filed Unfair Labor Practice charges, but the employees stood strong and they’ve never wavered in the face of the company’s illegal practices.”

“No matter the threats or intimidation, all workers need to do is to stand together, and you can win the day,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “These highly-skilled employees deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and they deserve a good wage and benefits. An IAM Contract will ensure fair treatment and dignity on the job. Congratulations to these proud workers for their courage and perseverance, and I want to welcome them as the newest members to the IAM family.”