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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Machinists Union Wins Organizing
Drive for Helicopter Techs in Texas
Washington, D.C., April 2, 2014 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today announced an important organizing victory for 450 military helicopter mechanics, technicians and maintenance personnel employed by L3 at the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Corpus Christi, TX.
The L3 employees voted for IAM representation by a solid 68 percent margin on April 2 in a day-long election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The group will join IAM Local 2916, which already has over 500 members under six contracts at the adjoining Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.
“Our organizers were able to overcome the anti-union bias that is promoted in some southern states by providing concrete examples of what IAM contracts have already secured for similar workers throughout the South,” said IAM Southern Territory Vice President Mark Blondin. “The IAM also has a history in the South that goes back 126 years, with well-established bargaining relationships in shipbuilding, defense and aerospace.”
Blondin credited the union’s months-long education campaign for ensuring workers at L3 knew their legal rights and understood the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement.
“The men and women at L3 haven’t had a raise in a long time, and they’re concerned about changes to benefits and job security,” said IAM Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative Ramon Garcia, who helped coordinate the organizing effort. “They know a contract can address these issues in a professional manner while giving them the respect they deserve as skilled technicians.” The effort included District Lodge 776 and District Organizers Chub McCrory and Sylvia Zavala.
The newly-organized technicians comprise one of two large L3 units at the Corpus Christi base. The second group includes indirect support personnel who are in the midst of their own IAM organizing campaign. An NLRB election for that group is expected soon.
“It’s a real privilege to welcome these employees into the IAM,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Texas and Texans have a well-earned reputation for independence, but nothing beats collective strength and collective bargaining when it comes to winning better pay and benefits on the job.”
The IAM is one of the largest industrial trade unions in North America, representing more than 600,000 active and retired members in dozens of industries. For more information about the IAM, visit www.goiam.org. For more information about the IAM organizing campaign at L3, visit www.goiamtexas.com.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has represented workers at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi for over fifty years. Local Lodge 2049 formed in 1963 to represent government workers at CCAD (Corpus Christi Army Depot). In 1998, Local Lodge 2916 formed to represent the Service Contract workers at the base.
Local Lodge 2916 represents workers at BAE Systems, Doss Aviation, Fidelity Technologies Corp., L3 Comm Vertex, Lockheed Martin, Global Sustain and M7 Aerospace. Recently, 30 workers at K Corp voted to join the IAM.
The Machinists Union is the premier service contract union in the United States, representing tens of thousands of workers across the United States. We represent thousands of L3 workers, including helicopter mechanics for L3 at Ft. Rucker, AL. The IAM negotiates strong contracts with L3, raising the pay and benefits well above the AWD (Area Wage Determination). We believe that L3 workers at Corpus Christi organizing with the Machinists will increase the strength of all contracts at NAS Corpus Christi.
Phone number for COBRA information call 1-800-482-4105
UPDATE!!!! 12pm Monday 4/30 By now you should have recieved information
for termination of Health Insurance from Lockheed....
Lockheed Martin is obligated to mail you information on COBRA continuation of medical coverage. If Lockheed Martin cancels your medical coverage on April 23rd, you have 60 days to elect COBRA coverage to continue your insurance protection. Then you have 45 days from the date you elect coverage to pay for it. If you don’t need to use any medical services (within the election and pay period), there is no need to pay anything. If the Labor Dispute is resolved within this time frame, and there will be no need for any out-of-pocket expenses to continue your coverage. Typically, the Union insists the COBRA premium or other health care expenses are paid by the Company as part of any strike settlement.
If you absolutely need the coverage because of a health concern, then you should elect coverage right away. However, you have 45 days from the date you elect coverage to pay the premium. Coverage will not show active until payment is received.
If you only need a doctor’s office visit or other minor checkup, you can do so and just pay for the office visit and not elect to pay the COBRA premium. Chances are the office visit will be much cheaper than the COBRA premium (see Q&A below for details). You can submit for repayment when our insurance is reinstated.
It is our recommendation you elect COBRA insurance and wait to pay until you use it (within specified time limits). The Company may try to imply you need to pay this premium immediately in an effort to put pressure on you to accept less in a revised contract offer. Lockheed Martin will send out lots of information on COBRA, but just keep in mind what your rights are.
You need to do what fits your needs and makes you feel comfortable. Again, we can’t predict when this labor dispute will end, so you need to make the decision that is best for your individual situation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cobra
When my normal insurance expires on April 23rd, how long do I have to elect COBRA coverage?
Cobra has 14 days tomail your benefits package to you. You have 60 days from the date coverage expires(April 23rd) to decide if you want COBRA coverage. This gives you until Jun 22nd (last date to get it postmarked) to make that decision. We recommend you send the election of coverage via certified or express mail. Keep in mind once you elect coverage, it will be retroactive to April 23rd.
If I elect coverage, how long do I have until the first premium is due?
The first payment must be received within 45 days after you elect coverage. If the Labor Dispute is settled before then, you won’t have a payment unless you have to use your coverage.
If I have elected COBRA coverage and have not made a payment, can I go to the doctor?
Yes. Inform your doctor you have elected COBRA. There may be a week or two before insurance comes through, but it will be retroactive. Most doctors will cooperate and if insurance initially rejects it, it can be resubmitted. Coverage does not officially begin until payment is received by Lockheed Martin and it will be retroactive to April 23rd.
Do I have to elect COBRA coverage for my entire family or could I just choose COBRA for the member who needs it?
You can select COBRA for any or all members of your family. For example, if your spouse was going through cancer treatments and other family members were healthy, you might only select your spouse for COBRA.
Will I be reimbursed if I make a COBRA payment or out-of-pocket medical expenses?
Typically, in the strike settlement agreement, the Union insists that your health care coverage be made whole as though there was no interruption. If a person paid COBRA or out-of-pocket medical expenses because of a lapse in coverage, they would be reimbursed for that expense as though there was no interruption in coverage. While this is up for negotiation, it has typically been in all our strike settlements.
If I elect coverage, but have not paid before the strike is settled, would I still need to pay?
Again, the Union typically insists that in the strike settlement agreement your health care coverage be made whole as though there was no interruption. Therefore, you would not need to pay.
If I only need an office visit for a sick child, can I just pay for the visit rather than electing COBRA?
Yes, that is an option. If you decide to pay the office visit (which is much cheaper than COBRA), be sure to ask for a cash discount (the same discount given to insurance companies which is substantially less than the regular rate). If after the doctor visit, you decide to elect COBRA coverage because more visits or tests are required, you could file a claim to recover what you have paid.