The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour division recently sided with the Machinists Union in its decision that U.S. Air Force contractors employed by FlightSafety Services Corporation (FSSC) are covered under the Service Contract Act (SCA). The federal agency’s Aug. 2 ruling creates opportunities for the IAM to negotiate stronger labor contracts with Service Contract employers who have to abide by the guidelines that require contractors and subcontractors to pay area wages and benefits that are determined by the government.
The Labor Department’s decision is a victory in the IAM’s longstanding effort to get the designation for its Local 708 members who train pilots and maintain flight simulators for the new KC-46 at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. The U.S. Air Force contracts office failed to include this designation of SCA for its government contract, a decision that led to a years-long fight that included strikes and mounting support from elected officials.
Service Contract workers are private-sector employees who work under federal contracts, primarily at military bases and other federal installations.
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Without an SCA designation, IAM members at McConnell AFB had been paid less than their counterparts working in the same industry.
“This is a tremendous victory for this critical workforce that helps the men and women who support our nation’s armed forces,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “This DOL ruling finally creates the opportunity for these workers to have the same protection that the Service Contract Act offers to the hundreds of other companies doing the same or similar work for the government. I want to thank our Legal and Aerospace departments for their hard work fighting for our membership.”
The Air Force has until Oct. 1 to decide whether to appeal the DOL ruling. The IAM remains confident, however, that the agency’s decision will ultimately be upheld.
The IAM also represents FlightSafety workers at Pease AFB in New Hampshire, Altus AFB in Oklahoma and Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina.
The DOL ruling also comes as the IAM is urging the Biden administration to reinstate protections in the SCA that were removed by former President Donald Trump.
The IAM represents nearly 40,000 Service Contract Workers in various industries, spread across more than 800 locations.