NLRB sets union vote for Cadence-Giddens in Everett

GiddensJesse2EVERETT – Workers at Cadence Aerospace-Giddens in Everett are scheduled to vote May 14-15 on whether to join the aerospace machinists union.

The National Labor Relations Board ordered the election after Machinists Union District Lodge 751 submitted signed requests from a substantial number of workers at the company.

“Cadence corporate has contracts with its suppliers and its customers,” said IAM 751 Organizer Director Jesse Cote. “Cadence-Giddens workers deserve the same consideration. They deserve a fair shake.”

The election is scheduled to take place over two days, with voting May 14 at both Cadence-Giddens plants in Everett – one at the Bomarc Business Park near Paine Field and the other on Merrill Creek Parkway. Voting will continue May 15 at the Bomarc plant.

The process will be overseen by the NLRB. If a simple majority of the workers who vote approve, they will form a new bargaining unit within District 751.

There are about 250 hourly workers at the company’s two Everett plants who produce precision machined aerospace components, subassemblies and kits, and do sheet-metal forming. The company has petitioned to have a number of those workers excluded from the bargaining unit; the union objects and a hearing on that will take place after the vote.

cadence-aerospaceThe Boeing Co. is a major customer for Cadence-Giddens, but parent company Cadence Aerospace also sells parts to Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and Fokker, along with providing parts to larger aerospace industry suppliers. Cadence Aerospace is based in Southern California, and operates seven aerospace supply companies across the United States and one in Mexico.

The Everett plant opened in 1978 as part of a collection of aerospace businesses owned by the Giddens family, longtime leaders in Washington’s aerospace industry. They sold it in 2008, and since then, it has been resold and renamed as part of a series of Wall Street merger and acquisition deals.

“For a long time now, the Giddens operation has been owned by investors more interested in buying-and-selling companies than in investing in the people who make these companies successful,” Cote said. “Without a union to speak up for them, they’ve become numbers on a spreadsheet, instead of people with families, goals and dreams.”

That fact became crystal clear earlier this year, Cote said, when Cadence management called an all-hands meeting at Giddens, where they congratulated the workforce for being the most-productive in the Cadence group, and said the Everett operation was the corporation’s most-profitable.

Then they announced that they were freezing workers’ wages and eliminating their 401(k) matches, Cote said.

“After all that’s happened, you can’t blame workers for wondering ‘Who are they going to sell us to next, and what more will they want to take away?’” Cote said.

JonMillwrightsThe aerospace industry is booming, said IAM 751 President Jon Holden, noting that Boeing announced earlier this week that it expects to generate more than $9 billion in free cash flow this year.

About the only ones not striking it rich in the aerospace supply industry are the workers, Holden said. A study by District 751 and SPEEA earlier this year showed that more than a third of all non-Boeing aerospace workers in Washington state are paid less than $15 an hour.

“Our members at Boeing know the quality of the work that the Giddens workers do,” Holden said. “They deserve better. I look forward to having these highly skilled aerospace workers as our union brothers and sisters.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 33,000 working men and women at 52 employers across Washington and California.

Think you’d be better off working union? Click here to talk to an IAM 751 representative about how to join the Machinists Union.

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