IAM Wins Organizing Drive for 450 in South Texas

The IAM announced an important organizing victory for 450 military helicopter technicians employed by L3 at the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Corpus Christi, TX. Pictured from left to right, front row: Ramon A. Garcia, Grand Lodge Representative; Sylvia Zavala, Organizer LL 2916; Inez Martinez, John Campos, Marcus Enman, Frank Guerra, and Hiram Pena, L3 CCAD; Joaquin Almazan, Local Lodge 2152; Robert Soileau, L3 CCAD and Chub McCrory, DL 776 Organizer. Back row: Steve Alvila, Apprentice Organizer; Raquel Duran, L3 CCAD; José Perez, Vice President, LL 2916 and Roland Woodson, L3 CCAD.

The IAM Southern Territory notched an important organizing victory for 450 military helicopter mechanics, technicians and maintenance personnel employed by L3 at the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Corpus Christi, TX.

The L3 employees voted for IAM representation by a 68 percent margin on April 2 in a day-long election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The group will join IAM Local 2916, which already has over 500 members under six contracts at the adjoining Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.

“The men and women at L3 haven’t had a raise in a long time, and they’re concerned about changes to benefits and job security,” said IAM Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative Ramon Garcia, who coordinated the organizing effort. “They know a contract can address these issues in a professional manner while giving them the respect they deserve as skilled technicians.”

“Our organizers were able to overcome the anti-union bias that is promoted in some southern states by providing concrete examples of what IAM contracts have already secured for similar workers throughout the South,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin. “The IAM also has a history in the South that goes back 126 years, with well-established bargaining relationships in shipbuilding, defense and aerospace.”

Blondin credited the union’s months-long education campaign for ensuring workers at L3 knew their legal rights and understood the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement. “This was a grassroots team victory. The members of Local Lodge 2916 provided countless volunteer hours organizing and house-calling,” said Blondin. “Southern Territory staff, District Lodge 776, Ft. Worth, TX provided assistance, and District 776 Organizer Chub McCrory and Local 2916 Organizer Sylvia Zavala worked at the Corpus Christi Organizing Headquarters for months.”

The newly-organized technicians comprise one of two large L3 units at the Corpus Christi base. The second group includes indirect support personnel who are in the midst of their own IAM organizing campaign. An NLRB election for that group is expected soon.

“It’s a real privilege to welcome these employees into the IAM,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Texas and Texans have a well-earned reputation for independence, but nothing beats collective strength and collective bargaining when it comes to winning better pay and benefits on the job.”

For more information about the IAM organizing campaign at L3, visit www.goiamtexas.com.

Click here to view a congratulatory message from IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger.