Twenty-four IAM District 947 members working for Cummins in Bloomington, Calif., have walked off the job to protest the Unfair Labor Practices of their employer.
The strike began on Oct. 4, when negotiations broke down over new technology provisions in their collective bargaining agreement.
In the months leading up to negotiations, technicians at the respective facilities have been required to work on new electric and hydrogen-fueled buses with no training and no documentation on how to handle hazards that could potentially arise from handling the new equipment.
“What this all boils down to is safety,” said District Lodge 947 President and Directing Business Representative Sal Vasquez. “Our members have not been given Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) or Job Safety Analyses (JSA’s) on how to handle these new components. At the end of the day, our members want to be able to perform their work safely and go home to their families the exact same way they came to work. They have my utmost respect for making the difficult decision of withholding their labor.”
Recently, there was an incident where a technician lowered a battery panel from an electric bus to find smoke emitting from the battery. Without a proper MSDS or JSA handy, the technician was forced to call out the fire department. Upon arrival, not even the local firefighters knew how to effectively handle the situation. They instructed the technicians to isolate the battery, but no one on the scene knew if there was a possibility of a reaction with other hazardous materials on site.
“I commend these workers for standing up and demanding a contract that values their safety and health on the job,” said Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “It is downright shameful that Cummins expects our members to work on new technology without proper training and safety education. And their refusal to negotiate these impacts in good faith is a stain on their reputation that will not be forgotten.”
To date, Cummins has refused to bargain in good faith, nor have they provided the necessary and relevant information needed to negotiate new technology provisions.