Machinists at United Launch Alliance Ratify New Contract

IAM members in California, Florida and Alabama voted early this week by 53 percent to ratify a new three-year agreement with United Launch Alliance (ULA). The contract features a 7 percent wage hike, a $6,000 ratification bonus, three annual COLA payments of $850 and 36 paid holidays over the life of the accord.

The contract covers 840 bargaining unit members at Local 44 in Decatur, AL; Local 610 in Cape Canaveral, FL, and Local 2786 at Vandenberg AFB in California. Formed in 2006, ULA is a joint venture of Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Lockheed-Martin Space Systems. The combined company manufactures rocket systems and provides launch services to the U.S. government.

The agreement also includes increased company contributions to members’ 401(k) accounts and a $10 increase in the pension multiplier, from $85 to $95. Despite significant financial gains in the agreement, the IAM Negotiating Committee declined to endorse it, citing the company’s insistence on freezing the defined benefit pension after January 1, 2017.

“There are good things and bad things in this offer,” said the union’s negotiating committee. “The contract offer fell short of our expectation and what we wanted to bring back to our members. Therefore, your negotiating committee decided unanimously that we cannot recommend this contract. The final decision, as always, rests with you, our membership.”