WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) –
42 days. That’s how long flight safety service workers have been on strike outside the McConnell Air Force base.
Daniel Rodriguez had just uprooted his family from Texas.
“We heard there was a new opportunity here in KS for the KC-46. They were like hey would you want to come start up this program,” says Daniel Rodriguez.
What started out as a new opportunity, Rodriguez says has turned into broken promises and turmoil for him, and sixteen other Machinist Union Members.
“I’m looking at less than half the income that I made back in San Antonio,” says Rodriguez.
They’re receiving a 45 percent cut in pay, because their contracts don’t include a government designation.
It’s been an especially tough year for Rodriguez.
“We have little ones to worry about right now and being on strike we don’t have the medical care. I actually have a son who has muscular dystrophy and he hasn’t been able to get care for the last year,” says Rodriguez.
To these workers, it’s about much more than just business.
“It’s economics to them, I get that. But it’s also economics for me and my family,” Jim Wurzer, Union Member.
With most of them being retired military, they simply want to continue serving their country.
“They train the men and women in uniform to be the best of the best, and they want to do that. They’re just asking for what’s right and what’s fair,” says Tyson Kelly, District 70 Business Rep.
Their jobs aren’t easily replaceable, and that’s starting to become apparent.
“Right now they have one instructor. I think the Air Force is starting to feel the pinch. The pilots need their training. The boom operators need their training,” says Wurzer.