EDITORIAL: Time for Robins employees to take the first step

March 16, 2014 

While Tuesday may seem like an ordinary day, it is far from ordinary and could turn out to be extraordinary in the lives of all Middle Georgians. Outside the fences that surround Robins Air Force Base, there will be no commotion or excitement, but inside the fences, a very important election will be taking place.

Members of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 987 will be selecting their leaders.

How important is this election? The on-time production numbers were released earlier this month, and while the three Air Force depot complexes are some of the best in the military, Robins lags far behind Tinker and Hill, but has far exceeded those two bases, combined, when it comes to workplace grievances.

While there are many reasons Robins has fallen 52 percentage points behind Tinker and 43 points behind Hill in on-time delivery, workers must concede that the same factors faced by Robins -- furloughs, retirements, etc. -- were also factors at Tinker and Hill. It doesn’t change the fact that Robins is No. 3. And while Air Force command is still wedded to a three-base maintenance scenario, the Department of Defense may well have other thoughts.

In this new era of cost containment and drawdown of forces, the DOD would be foolish not to try to cut the costs of workplace grievances.

Our area’s livelihood is birthed by the base. More than a quarter of every dollar in Middle Georgia and half of every Houston County dollar comes from the base just east of Ga. 247.

Will the outcome of this election save Robins? No. Will it help save Robins? Yes.

Members of Local 987 can decide whether they want to risk their jobs, and probably those of their families, by turning back the clock, or they can look forward to better labor management cooperation. We pray they make the right choice.

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