Civilian Workers Strike Continues at Vance AFB
Rick Boardman can say all he wants to a reporter for the Enid (Okla.) News & Eagle — as he does in this video — in an attempt to justify the decision to strike that garnered support of 94 percent of the union members for whom he serves as president. What he needs to realize, however, is that the people of Enid, Okla., have reason to be scared, and his union is to blame.
People in the northwest Oklahoma community (pop. 47,000) where I grew up awoke June 8 to find that more than 700 of their neighbors, members of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 898 who serve as civilian contractor employees at Vance Air Force Base, had gone on strike. For the first time in 44 years, amidst the worst economy since the Great Depression, all flying activities at the pilot training base that serves as the town’s largest employer came to a standstill.
Now in its eighth day, the strike prompted Pentagon officials to relocate many of the student pilots and their instructors to other pilot training bases where they can finish earning their wings. And the elephant in the room is the prospect of how the Air Force and the Department of Defense might react the next time Congress decides its time close more military bases.
And did I say that Vance is the largest employer in town? I can’t repeat that too often.
* * *
- Vance Pilots Resume Training Elsewhere (Enid News & Eagle, June 16, 2009)