Oklahoma Machinists at Tinker AFB Strike to Keep Pension

Oklahoma Local 850 members struck Tinker Air Force Base contractor Alutiiq Commercial Enterprises to protect their pension.

In a move to save their pension plan, more than 240 IAM Local 850 members employed by service contractor Alutiiq Commercial Enterprises at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, walked off the job Monday morning. Alutiiq is a new contractor at the base.

“The issue is retirement,” said IAM Directing Business Representative Tony Bennett. “The company wants to take the money they contribute to the pension plan and instead put it into a 401(k). The workers know the pension plan will give them a far more secure retirement than the Wall Street risk of a 401(k).”

The workers went on strike after Alutiiq announced that it would not continue pension plan contributions when it took over the service contract from the base’s previous contractor Tinker Support Services on August 1.

“Our members didn’t make this decision lightly. They are quite concerned about their mission at Tinker AFB in support of base operations, but they feel they have no choice,” said Bennett “They have to stand together to ensure they have a secure retirement.

Local 850 civil engineering workers at Tinker AFB are responsible for maintaining the base’s electrical, plumbing, wastewater treatment, and carpentry operations.

“Pensions remain an important issue to the Machinists Union and to our members,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin. “They negotiated their pension plan into a collective bargaining agreement and Alutiiq must honor it. The Machinists Union will continue to fight for good pensions.”

“We can resolve this issue quickly with good-faith bargaining,” said Bennett. “We urge the company to bargain a resolution so our members can return to their mission of supporting the operations at Tinker.”