Sumner Machinists AIM for better than poverty pay
SUMNER — Negotiators with Machinists Union District Lodge 751 are fighting back against a proposal by AIM Aerospace managers in Sumner that would lock composites manufacturing specialists at the company into poverty-wage jobs for the next five years.
Coty is the lead negotiator for District 751 as it tries to work out a first union contract for more than 250 hourly workers at AIM’s Sumner plant.
AIM Group USA — the plant’s parent company — is an $80 million-a-year business and one of Washington’s 100 largest private companies, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. It is a direct supplier of composite parts to Boeing and Airbus.
Yet while AIM’s workers make critical components for $100 million jets, AIM management wants to pay them less than fast-food workers. The average wage for AIM workers in Sumner is $13 an hour.
Many take home less than that. AIM brings in new manufacturing workers from Aerotek — a temporary staffing company — and pays them $10 an hour during a probationary period.
That’s not nearly enough to live on, said Coty. Recent studies show a single person in Washington needs to earn more than $16 an hour to meet their minimum needs for food, housing, transportation and health care.
“We’ve been trying to educate Jeff Moore (the vice president of operations at AIM’s Sumner plant) about the difference between minimum wage and a living wage,” said Coty.
But AIM’s latest offer, made on Jan. 22, would lock pay for all but the most-senior manufacturing workers below $13.40 an hour for the next five years. Starting pay for all job categories would inch up from $10.25 to $10.55 an hour.
“We can’t get to where we need to be as long as AIM insists on nickle-and-dime raises,” Coty said. “These workers are specialists who work in a booming manufacturing sector, and they shouldn’t have to rely on food banks to put meals on their tables.”
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents nearly 33,000 working men and women at 49 employers across Washington, Oregon and California.
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