An arbitrator recently ruled that members of Local 735 in Nashville, TN, were not properly compensated by their employer Vought Aircraft, and awarded them more than $1 million in back vacation pay.
In September 2008, after months of negotiations for a new contract, Local 735 members rejected Vought’s final proposal and voted to strike. The strike lasted 16 weeks, ending in January 2009, at which time, a new contract became effective.
Among the changes in the new contract was a revised formula for calculating members’ vacation pay. The old contract called for employees to accrue vacation time and to be paid based on gross earnings from the previous year. Under the new agreement, employees would receive vacation pay based on their current earnings.
District 711 Business Representative Chuck Killebrew said, “The members believed that vacation pay from June 2008 until the strike occurred in September 2008 should be calculated and paid under the terms of the old contract.” However, Vought took the position that the vacation language had changed under the new contract and that employees were not due anything from their earnings after June 2008.
Local 735 filed a grievance, which was eventually heard by an arbitrator. The arbitrator issued an award granting the grievance in its entirety, stating that the company was to pay all employees vacation pay on all earnings for the period requested, plus interest.
“This is a big win for the membership of Local 735,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “We are very thankful for this just decision.”
To date, 662 employees have received an average payout of more than $1,500 per employee, totaling some $1,000,631.