It’s no secret that companies frequently discharge workers engaged in organizing drives, confident that the time it takes to resolve an Unfair Labor Charge (ULP) will far exceed a worker’s resolve and financial ability to keep fighting.
In addition to a lengthy and cumbersome ULP process, the penalties are often so small as to actually encourage other companies to similarly oppose organizing drives at their locations.
In an indication that the tide may be turning, the IAM recently settled a ULP case that included $1.4 million in back pay for 19 Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) Specialists who were recently discharged while seeking to organize their employer, Lockheed Martin Services, Inc.
The AFSS workers successfully completed their organizing drive in 2009, but not before the company implemented a Reduction in Force at five facilities in Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, California and Colorado, selecting employees for layoff because of their activities on behalf of the IAM.
The highly skilled AFSS Specialists sought representation with the IAM after the federal government outsourced their work to Lockheed Martin in 2006. As employees working for a government contractor, they are eligible for wage rates and work rules as defined by the Service Contract Act (SCA), but only if they successfully organized their group.
The settlement is also a testament to the range of services and support the IAM offers workers seeking to organize. In addition to first rate legal support, the AFSS Negotiating Committee took part in the unique Negotiations Preparation Class at the IAM’s Winpisinger Center, where members receive in depth training in all aspects of contract bargaining, including cost analysis of proposals, membership surveys and mock negotiations.