Fairchild AFB Machinists win raises, pension benefit
SPOKANE — Machinists Union members who work for defense contractor Delaware Resources Group have ratified a new three-year collective bargaining agreement that includes a new pension benefit.
The agreement covers DRG’s civilian workers at Fairchild Air Force Base and five other sites nationwide.
At Fairchild, the agreement will cover 15 DRG pilot instructors and flight simulator technicians who train KC-135 tanker crews. They’re members of Machinists Union Local Lodge 86, which is affiliated with Machinists Union District Lodge 751 in Seattle.
Under the terms of the deal, starting in April, the company will begin paying into a pension plan for the workers, who will be eligible to start receiving retirement benefits from the plan if they work another five years.
The pension benefit will replace a previous profit-sharing plan, which provided an additional 401(k) match.
That was a win for the workers, said IAM 751 Business Rep Steve Warren.
“A pension benefit guarantees a specified payment for retirees, every month for the rest of their lives,” he said. “It’s something you can count on, unlike a 401(k) that goes up and down with the stock market.”
In addition, the agreement also spells out:
- Raises of 3 percent in the first and second years of the contract, and 3.25 percent in the third;
- Additional pay for workers who take cash in lieu of health care benefits, while workers who enroll in the company-provided health plan will see an improved cost-share; and
- Improvements in language to spell out how workers are to be paid when they’re assigned to travel for work.
The Machinists at Fairchild supported the agreement, said Holly Johnson, a flight simulator technician who serves as a union steward and was part of the negotiating committee.
“What we looked at, what we voted on and what we got through the union from DRG, we’re all pretty happy,” he said.
Originally formed in 1935 by hourly workers at the Boeing Co., 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. They are served by a network of local lodges that includes Local 86 in Spokane, Machinists Union Local Lodge 1123 in Grand Coulee and Machinists Union Local Lodge 1951 in Richland.
Think you’d be better off working under a union contract? Click here to talk with an IAM 751 representative about how to join the Machinists Union.