NASA Gambles with Safety at Kennedy Space Center

United Space Alliance has restarted assembly of space-shuttle components inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, FL, without the benefit of key staff, according to sources inside the facility. 

IAM Representatives have been told that NASA is nowhere to be seen while replacement workers perform dangerous crane operations.  Nearly 570 IAM members of Local 2061 who normally perform safety-sensitive functions at the Kennedy Space Center went on strike June 14th.

Their work at KSC is currently being performed by engineers, management and others who do not normally operate the massive cranes. In an Associated Press article that raised the safety issue, a United Space Alliance spokesperson said all the replacement workers have previous experience, a claim that won her Local 2061’s first “Pinocchio Award.”

The Machinists are concerned that the so-called ‘training’ of crane operators consisted of moving an empty hook around, with no load. This does not follow the United Space Alliance certification process nor does it begin to approximate the experience of moving a fully loaded fuel canister or any of the other normal duties of a KSC crane operator.