Need Proof That Unions Work in the South? Here It Is

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Bradley Fighting Vehicle and HMMV simulator instructors and technicians ratify a first contract less than three months of joining the IAM.

A group of newly organized IAM members at Fort Benning in Columbus, GA are the latest example of what many union members already know—when you are part of a union, you make higher wages and better benefits. The nearly 70 highly skilled simulator instructors and technicians overwhelmingly voted to ratify their first contract with this week, just a few short months after voting to join the IAM.

The District 131 members, who work for CSRA, provide Bradley Fighting Vehicle and HMMV simulator training and support of armored and infantry troops.

“I couldn’t be prouder of what this group has accomplished—from the vote to join the IAM all the way through negotiations and ratification,” said District 131 Directing Business Representative Billy Barnwell. “Thanks goes out to the entire group, including the Negotiating Committee of Art Murphy, Jerry Ricketts and Samantha Walker.”

The agreement provides wage increases totaling almost 10 percent over three years, and an almost 30 percent increase in fringe dollars over that same span. The bargaining unit gained a grievance procedure, seniority protections and many other benefits.

“This is a prime example of how much workers benefit by joining a union,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin. “When you bargain collectively, there is no limit to what can be achieved. We are very proud of what District 131 and this group has done in such a short time frame.”

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