The picket line outside the entrance to the Kennedy Space Center on July 27 was nearly a quarter mile long, as hundreds braved the broiling heat to support TWU Local 525. Members from TWU locals across the country, TWU International Representatives and the TWU International Working Women’s Committee took part in the Day of Action, expressing our support for the members of Local 525.
About 80 firefighters represented by the TWU have been in contract negotiations with Chenega Infinity and reached an impasse in March. Chenega wants to reduce members’ retirement by 85 percent and on top of that, completely cut their sick leave and overtime. If an agreement isn’t reached within 45 days, NASA will drop the wage provision and seek wages from the Department of Labor, which are $7 an hour less than what is earned now.
“So by Oct. 1, we face cut retirement, sick leave, overtime and wages dropping. I don’t know of any other fire department in the country who is treated like this,” said Local 525 President Kevin Smith. “These are American heroes, they protect our space center. They don’t have any respect for them and are stripping everything from these guys. It’s appalling.”
TWU International Secretary-Treasurer Jerome Lafragola, International Administrative Vice President/Air Division Director Mike Mayes and International Administrative Vice President/TUUS Division Director Curtis Tate also attended. Members and representatives in attendance were from the Air, Rail, & Transit Divisions; including a delegation from our recently organized JetBlue group.