Machinists approve 3-year deal with Triumph
The 335 Machinist Union members who work at Triumph Composites in Spokane have won unprecedented job-security guarantees after ratifying a new three-year contract with the aerospace supplier.
Some 81 percent of the Machinists voted Thursday to approve the new contract with Triumph.
“These negotiations are a good example of how the union and company can meet in the middle for the good of all,” said union member Kevin Winans, who works for the company. “I’m proud of the members, proud of the union and proud of the company.”
Thursday’s vote came after four weeks of contract talks between managers at Triumph and leaders from the union, who are members of Machinists District Lodge 751, based in Seattle.
“I only wish that all our contract negotiations could go like this,” said District 751 President Tom Wroblewski.
The union president said that Triumph’s team bargained hard, but did so in good faith.
“They brought a different attitude to the table,” he said. “It is refreshing to work with an employer that is honest and on the level, and isn’t bringing a hidden agenda to the bargaining table.”
Job security was the No. 1 issue for union members going into the contract talks, and the new contract guarantees that each of them will have a 40-hour-a-week job throughout the length of the contract, even if Boeing – which is the major customer for the Spokane plant – cuts its production rates.
In exchange for that guarantee, the union agreed to forego general wage increases. However, union members will get bonuses totaling $8,300 over the three years of the contract, with $4,000 of that coming in the first year.
In addition, the contract increases the step raises new workers get as they progress through the ranks, improves the formula for cost-of-living adjustments and gives a 13.3 percent increase in company contributions to employee pensions. The contract also ensures that employee costs for health insurance won’t increase more than 8 percent a year.
The union’s negotiating committee — which included Wroblewski and IAM&AW Aerospace Coordinator Mark Blondin — had recommended that workers approve the contract. “It shows improvements in nearly every area you identified as important, and contains no takeaways,” the committee told members prior to the vote.
This is the second contract that District 751 has negotiated on behalf of Spokane aerospace workers in 2010. In April, workers at FlightSafety Services, a defense contractor at Fairchild Air Force Base, unanimously approved a new three-year contract. The FlightSafety Services workers train pilots and flight crews who operate KC-135 refueling tankers based at Fairchild.
Best known for representing production workers at Boeing plants around Puget Sound, Machinists District Lodge 751 also represents more than a thousand working men and women at companies and agencies across eastern Washington, through a network of local lodges that includes Local 86 in Spokane, Local 1123 in Wenatchee and Local 1951 in Richland.
Become a fan of IAM 751 on Facebook.