Union Workers Back on the Job

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

It's been a hard fought standoff between Pemco and the union.

When the old contract expired, the new contract proposed by the company led to a strike vote followed by a lockout.

But Sunday night, it appears the two month long strike is officially over.

Union members began lining up as early as 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon in front of Dale County High School’s gym, for a meeting to discuss new contract proposals by Pemco World Air.

"The differences were 180 degrees apart, uh, the other one was full of concessions and take-aways and this offer has raises, higher pensions, good health insurance, and more jobs,” says union spokesman Bob Wood.

After the votes were counted, 72 percent of those who voted approved of the new contract. They will be going back to work between Tuesday and Oct. 26. The week period is normal. It’s to give those who've left to find other work, a chance to come back.

"I'm just glad its over, ready to get back to work get back to normal, get everybody back home because they been out of town working and its going to be a lot better for everybody,” union member Janet Dawkins says.

Sunday afternoon, the crowd's mood was -jovial. And they're excited about giving back to the community that supported them the past few months.

"We have an apprenticeship program that be ran jointly between the company and the union," Wood says," that we're going to be able to have more local Dothan people and teach them how to be aircraft mechanics"

Meanwhile union member Willie Shiver says that he has things to check out on Tuesday, “I'm a custodian, the first thing I'm gonna do is run around and see what damage has been done, and probably shed a few tears.”

We tried to get a hold of Pemco representatives, they were unavailable for comment.

The workers won't start back till Tuesday at the earliest, Monday is a holiday. The contract highlights are as follows:

  • pay raise of 3.5 percent every year for three years

  • no subleasing

  • "b" aircraft/structural mechanics raised one labor grade, bonus pay for A and P license holders

  • capped quality healthcare

  • proposal withdrawn for unlimited use of out-of-state contractors

  • elimination of unpaid holidays and overtime withdrawn

  • 100 members to receive $0.75 - $1 p/hr. Increase

  • apprenticeship program

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