After months of negotiations, two groups of IAM members from Local Lodge 2771 at Sheppard Air Force base recently ratified new three-year contracts for 647 members.

STM Negotiating group consisting of Bud Dulworth (Business Representative), James Jarrett (Negotiator and Steward), Hearn Conley (Local 2771 President and Chief Steward) and Jody Bennett (COS Aerospace).

The two groups consist of 547 IAM members from M1 Sheppard Air Force Base Maintenance (SAM) and 100 members from M1 Sheppard Trainer Maintenance (STM). The SAM group maintains T6 and T38 aircraft for the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT) while the STM group manages all aircraft used in the training of active-duty Air Force members interested in becoming maintainers on Air Force fleet aircraft.

The new accords provide many gains including wage, overtime and shift differential increases, stronger healthcare options and vision and dental plans, enhanced 401k, improved vacation (less time to move from tier to tier), additional paid bereavement time, better weather language and more classifications that will receive HAZMAT pay.

“I want to thank the members for their continued solidarity and Aerospace General Vice President Mark Blondin for providing leadership and support throughout negotiations,” said Aerospace Chief of Staff Jody Bennett, the lead negotiator. “I’d also like to thank Aerospace Coordinator Robert Barnwell for his assistance and knowledge of HAZMAT testing, which was a key resource in negotiations. His expertise along with Strategic Resources Director David White’s knowledge of insurance paid huge dividends for our members. I’d also like to congratulate Business Representative Bud Dulworth and all who were a part of the negotiating committees. Your collective knowledge allowed us to achieve a great contract for our members.”

SAM Negotiating group consisting of David White (Director Strategic Resources), Bud Dulworth (Business Representative), Cory Bennett (Negotiator/Chief Steward) Jody Bennett (COS AEROSPACE), Robert Barnwell (Aerospace Coordinator) Bob Hall (Negotiator), Gary Houston (Negotiator) and Mark Hibbs (Negotiator/Steward).

“It was an unbelievable experience to work with such an experienced committee,” said Shop Chief Steward and Negotiator Cory Bennett. “We not only got a fully recommended three-year deal to offer our membership, but a contract that will set an incredible standard of life for over 600 members and their families within this community. We have set a standard in pay, insurance and retirement. On behalf of the entire committee, I would like to thank Aerospace General Vice President Mark Blondin for assigning Chief of Staff Jody Bennett, Aerospace Coordinator Robert Barnwell, and Strategic Resources Director David White as their knowledge is unmatched at the negotiating table. Further, I would like to thank the membership for believing in this committee. Without your solidarity, this would not be possible.”

Although this Sheppard Aircraft Maintenance (SAM) group is on the right-to-work side of the air force base, traditionally 98 percent of the employees are part of the IAM union family. This high union density has been the main factor in achieving successful contracts for over four decades.

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