Machinists at Lewis-McChord Ratify First Contract

Nearly 350 members of District 751 who work for civilian contractor URS Corp. at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington state are looking forward to their first pay raises in three years after approving their first union contract. The three-year accord was ratified with a 76-percent yes vote and will take effect on Aug. 3. The new members work on military helicopters and do site maintenance at JBLM.

“The promise of raises — after three years with no pay increases — made a big difference,” said Jeff Sayres, who had worked with the group at JBLM for 23 years and served on the union’s negotiating team. “Pay was a big deal. We haven’t had a raise in three years. This contract is something we can count on for the next three years.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the URS workers at JBLM will receive wage increases of 2.75 percent in the first year, 3 percent in the second year and 3.25 percent in the third year; an additional 25-cent-an-hour raise in both the second and third years of the contract for workers in seven job categories, plus additional pay for everyone working nights and weekends and performing particularly difficult or hazardous tasks; two additional paid vacation days in 2013, a third added vacation day in 2014, plus two paid administrative leave days; an increase in cash payments for workers who opt out of company-provided health insurance, while those who stay in the company plan would pay a smaller share of the premium; and a new pension benefit, provided through the IAM National Pension Fund.

There are now more than 600 District 751 members working under IAM contracts for civilian contractors at JBLM and NAS Whidbey.