Rock Island, IL- The working people of Rock Island Arsenal are facing the implementation of a disastrous contract today, April 3, that could affect both morale and turnover at the arsenal.
Members of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2119, which represents over 400 workers at the arsenal, have come to the bargaining table in good faith for over a year with management, only to be ignored and forced to accept a contract that they’ve had little say in.
The highly skilled workforce at the arsenal is able to take raw materials and quickly produce fully finished military hardware such as Howitzer cannons, mobile repair modules, and even portable kitchens for military operations.
These employees and members of the Quad Cities community are being forced to accept a contract that was not bargained in good faith or even agreed upon by the union.
“Our members and leaders have taken every opportunity to hash out this contract in a respectable way that recognizes both the importance of our work and the rights guaranteed to our workers by federal law. Unfortunately, management hasn’t respected either of those aspects,” said Tim Russell, chief steward of AFGE Local 2119.
“We’ve gone to the table with management multiple times and left thinking that a fair agreement has been reached, only to be met with specific aspects of the contract changed without our input. They’ve actually tried to slip in changes that weren’t even discussed. This has happened five times, and we have not agreed to any versions of the contract,” added Russell. “The latest version of this contract is still being forced on us without our approval. It’s absurd and shows a lack of respect for the crucial work we do.”
Members and leaders of Local 2119 are available to discuss the negotiation process and the issues they've faced throughout the process. Arsenal employees are part of the United States Department of the Army, which is part of the Department of Defense.