Huge Hat Tip to Chris Krock (of WBAP in Dallas/Fort Worth)
Right here on their website (IAM, don't bother taking it down, I've got screen caps).
Scroll down a ways and you will see that they are recommending their members, on strike against Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, apply for Unemployment Benefits in the State of Texas. The State of Texas requires that your separation be "through no fault of your own." Striking (especially considering the increases they're getting in: base salary, raises, cost-of-living adjustments, and pension) would not appear to satisfy that requirement.
Additionally, they have multiple links to various charitable organizations in the area which they are urging their members to attempt to access. This means they, voluntarily striking workers, will be competing for charity resources against those truly in need.
Not to go all "ZOMG!" There, but this is bigger than some may think.
Let's take a look at it rationally, now.
Here are the hightlights from the Lockheed Martin offer that the union (92%) rejected. For those who won't click over:
- 3% general wage increase in each of 2012, 2013, & 2014. The page says that totals to 9%. My math says it totals to 9.27%, so close enough.
- Ratification bonus of $3,000 (now off the table)
- Cost of Living Adjustment of $800/yr (yes, that would be in addition to the regular raise.)
- Increase of the pension multiplier from $79/mo to $90/mo (approx 14% increase)
- Improvements to their Savings Plan
- 37 Paid Holidays over the same 3 years (compare that to the 10/yr most people get)
- Voluntary Separation (early retirement buy-out, essentially)
- New Retirement Plan for New Hires only (defined contrib instead of defined benfit)
So what's the thing they rejected? Their health insurance deductible would go up to $2000/yr and they'd have to pay higher premiums.
Now, I don't actually have a problem with them striking over that. They certainly have the right to ask for more, and to stand up for themselves when they don't get it. I don't agree with it; I think the offer was more than generous. I do recognize their right to do so, however.
What I do have a problem with is the striking workers applying for charity benefits. Links on the AIM Page include: Texas Workforce Commission (more on that, later, I hope). Angel Food Ministries. Catholic Charities Diocese of Fort Worth. Catholic Charities Northeas Bedford, and Medicare Part D.
Now, on Medicare D, if you're eligible for Medicare D, you're eligible for Medicare D- I don't much care about that one (beyond wishing it had never existed at all).
As for the charities: how dare they? According to Chris Krok (on WBAP), these Charities (at least one of them, and, if I was hearing him right, more than one) have confirmed they have been contacted by striking IAM workers. That means that people who have turned up their noses at a pay and benefits package that (just pulling a number here) 14.5% of the rest of the country would die for are attempting to draw on the resources of private charities. That is, they're asking for the resources you and I donated to help the truly needy because they're too greedy and ungreatful to accept the offer Lockheed Martin put before them.
So far, I know of no charity that has actually provided such assistance. I hope to follow up on that.
As for the Texas Workforce Commission- I'm going to try to contact them, though I expect no response. From looking at the IAM website, it appears there is at least one ear sympathetic to their 'cause,' at the TWC. Further, if it isn't suborning perjury to encourage members to apply for Unemployment Benefits (one requirement being that you must be separated through no fault of your own) then it should be way too close for comfort.
I'm just trying to get the facts out there now. I'll follow up with a more detailed thoughts and analysis post later.