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After turmoil, Senator says things are better with Robins union

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson speaks Thursday during a 21st Century Partnership quarterly meeting at the Museum of Aviation.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson speaks Thursday during a 21st Century Partnership quarterly meeting at the Museum of Aviation. jvorhees@macon.com

A couple of years ago the union that represents aircraft workers at Robins Air Force Base was in turmoil, but that has turned around, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson told community leaders Thursday.

The American Federation of Government Employees Local 987 had been through a long period of conflict among new leaders who advocated for a cooperative relationship with base management and an older generation that saw that as failing to stand up for the rights of workers.

The new leaders were forced out by the national union, which than appointed a trustee while they conducted an investigation. Early last year, an election was held and the local workers were able to chose their leaders again.

Isakson, a Georgia Republican, said things are going well with the new leadership team and he acknowledged a union official in the audience.

“The union attitude now and the attitude of this base toward the union workers is exactly what it should be,” he said.

He made the comments at a meeting of the 21st Century Partnership, a community group that supports the base. He said labor relations is an important issue throughout the Air Force due to the need for skilled workers.

“It portends good things for our future if you don’t lose sight of what got you here in the first place, which is good people doing good things for our future,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican whose 8th District includes Robins, also spoke at the meeting and touted the improved relations with the union, as well.

“That relationship is key to our success as a congressional delegation in being able to bring additional workload to the base,” he said. “If that relationship is not there, then the additional workload will not be coming to us. It will be going somewhere else.”

After more than a year in trusteeship, union members of the base elected a new slate for officers, including Marion Williams as president.

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