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Mon, May 07, 2012

United Launch Alliance Urges IAM Members To Vote in Favor Of New Contract

Final Offer Presented May 2nd, Union Is Urging Members To Reject The Pact

United Launch Alliance (ULA) has urged its employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) to vote this Sunday, May 6, in favor of a new three-year contract. The proposed contract would cover represented employees located at ULA's production operations in Decatur, AL, and at ULA's launch operations in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA.

On May 2, 2012, ULA presented its final offer to the IAM. The IAM's negotiating committee has recommended that its members reject ULA's proposed contract and vote to authorize the IAM leadership to call a strike.

"We encourage all IAM represented employees to become familiar with the details of ULA's offer and to exercise their right to vote for this contract," said Michael Gass, president and chief operating officer. "This is an excellent contract which recognizes the value and contributions the union employees bring to our mission of delivering critical capabilities for our nation."

The offer provides substantial wage increases and pension increases over the life of the contract. "The proposed contract is fair, competitive and in the best interest of ULA and our employees," Gass said. "We strongly encourage the union membership to review the proposed contract, see how much the contract has to offer them and their families, and vote in favor of ratifying the proposed contract," he added.

Highlights from ULA's proposed three-year contract include:

  • Guaranteed pay increases over the next three years through a combination of three general wage increases totaling 8.5 percent over three years
  • A $5,000 ratification bonus and continuation of the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) formula and supplements
  • A regional equity adjustment of $0.50 per hour in years two and three of the contract for Decatur employees
  • Current employees will retain an excellent pension with substantial increase
  • Current represented employees and those hired before December 31, 2012, will maintain their defined benefit pension plan with an increase of $3 in year one and an additional $1.00 increase in years two and three. This will bring the pension benefit to $85 per-month, per-year of credited service, representing a 6.3 percent increase in pension benefits. Current employees will also continue to accrue service under this plan as they have under prior agreements.
  • Employees hired on or after January 1, 2013, receive a new competitive retirement plan:
  • They will be able to save for retirement with a new defined contribution plan that is part of the ULA 401k Savings and Retirement Plan - the Employer Retirement Savings Contribution, with a guaranteed quarterly company contribution of $350 for their retirement. Employees eligible for the Employer Retirement Savings Contribution have multiple investment options, and can take it with them if they leave the company.
  • Continued health care coverage with three plan choices: The Company pays 85 percent of the premium for the Exclusive Provider Organization and Preferred Provider Organization plans and 94 percent for the Health Reimbursement Account plan.

"We are asking the IAM to transition to a new retirement plan for future new hires," Gass said. "This is an important step ULA is taking to remain competitive in our industry and it is what the company has asked salaried employees to do since 2011. The vast majority of companies, including many government contractors and government agencies, no longer offer defined benefit pension plans to new hires."

According to Gass, ULA is taking action to position itself for the future. "We're making the modifications outlined for newly hired and rehired employees to remain competitive," Gass said. "We're doing this while maintaining and improving the defined benefit pension for current employees. Under the proposed contract, ULA employees continue to be well paid in comparison to others in the communities where they live and work." 

FMI: www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/About_Negotiations.shtml, www.goiam.org

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