Normal flying operations have been temporarily suspended since Monday at midday at Vance AFB, Okla., following the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement between the base’s unionized civilian employees and their contractor CSC Applied Technologies. The contractor provides support services and aircraft maintenance to the 71st Flying Training Wing, which conducts joint specialized undergraduate pilot training (JSUPT) for Air Force, Navy, and foreign military pilots. 2nd Lt. Lynn Aird, a base spokeswoman, told the Daily Report at midday yesterday that there had been no change in status. The base’s T-1, T-6, and T-38 trainers aren’t flying any sorties due to the loss of the contractor mechanics, she said. But JSUPT students are still taking part in flight simulations and their academic courses, she noted. Oklahoma City’s The Oklahoman reported yesterday that there are approximately 770 civilian employees, of which about 350 are aircraft mechanics. According to the newspaper, the issues between the workers and contractors concern vacation days, rules regarding paid time off, seniority, forced overtime, plus rising health insurance rates. In a release June 8, officials with the 71st FTW said they remain impartial during the strike, but look forward to its resolution.
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.