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Civilian contract workers strike at VAFB

Rain or shine, “we are striking we have withheld our labor from the company RGNext this morning,” says Lynn Swenson, with Teamsters Local 986.

About a dozen or so civilian contract workers decided to strike on Tuesday.

Many of them have been working on the Vandenberg Air Force Base for a long time, some almost 40 years on the job.

They say they plan to strike for however long it takes and stand in unison with one clear message.

“Part of it is settling the unfair labor practice, part of it is economic and benefits,” says Swenson.

“An equal platform, we have counterparts that are handsomely rewarded and compensated and doing the same job we are,” says Richard Noriega, the Mission Control Supervisor.

The RGNext employees are responsible for helping to organize launches at the base. Their strike has caused a delay for a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III missile, pushing it back until Wednesday. “The company has trained stand in employees to stand in their position and my guess is those employee are not up to speed,” says Swenson. “In my mind it raised a lot of red flags,” says Noriega. Strikers say for the last 6 months they have been negotiating a contract with their company. They say once they received the best and final offer last week, they decided to talk about it and go on strike. “For us to be out here so close to launch it’s difficult because we are used to being on console,” says Noriega. Noriega says these employees have years of experience helping them to make sure that launches on base go on without a hitch. He says they are hoping to get a fair contract and get back to work. “Every launch that comes out of Vandenberg comes out of our department, we work hand in hand with the government,” says Noriega. The strikers say they plan to meet to renegotiate their contract with the company on Monday.

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