To: Denise May, Chairwoman, BoD Afognak

Tell Alutiiq to stop attacking retirement security for striking workers at Tinker AFB!

243 Machinists Union Workers at Alutiiq, a contractor at Tinker AFB, OK have been on strike since Aug. 1, 2016. The company, owned by the Afognak Tribe in Alaska, is attempting to terminate the worker’s pensions. The Machinists share our Native People’s care for children and the elderly, and are petitioning the Afognak Native Corporation and the Afognak natives to end the company attacks on our family’s retirement security, and negotiate a fair and equitable end to the strike.

Why is this important?

After striking for more than 50 days, 244 Alutiiq, Inc. base maintenance workers at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City are left wondering why Alaska’s Afognak Native Corporation, owner of Alutiiq, is hell-bent on stripping their pension. Afognak Native Corporation (Afognak) is an Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) formed under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), and the companies support the Afognak Tribe.

On August 1, 2016, Alutiiq assumed the base maintenance contract at Tinker AFB, after winning the bid from a previous contractor. The workers are represented by Local Lodge 850 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). The company wished to bridge the contract from the previous contractor, but demanded workers give up their long-standing pension.

The company hired an infamous union-busting law firm, Jackson and Lewis, to do all the negotiating for Alutiiq on the Tinker AFB contract. The company cites worries about withdrawal liability in the plan, but the company has another contract with the IAM in Florida, which it just renegotiated this summer, and kept the plan.

Over the years, the employees have forgone raises in favor of improving their pension plan.
“They are determined to keep their pension,” said IAM spokesman Bob Wood. “This company knew the workers had a pension when they bid on the contract. If they didn’t want to fund the pension, they didn’t need to bid on the contract. These workers are determined to keep their plan.”

“Our members would like to know if Afognak natives know that the company they own is using their money to hire union busters and stripping workers’ pensions,” said Wood. “We find it hard to believe they are aware what is being done in their name. We hope Afognak natives will tell them to do the right thing and quit attacking the workers who make the profits for the company.”

“The Machinists Union shares the values of our Native Peoples of caring for our children and our elders. But it seems Alutiiq has no regard for the men, women and their families that are sacrificing to save their future, so we are reaching out to the Tribe to stop this strike,” said Wood.

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