1942: Pantex Helps Win World War II
The desperate need for munitions to fight World War II led to the creation of the Pantex Ordnance Plant, built on 16,000 acres of land east of Amarillo, Texas. Operations began on September 17, 1942, only nine months after the commencement of construction.
Pantex was the last of 14 ordnance plants constructed in Texas to support the war effort, producing nearly four million conventional bombs and artillery shells during three whirlwind years of heavy production.
The Pantex Ordnance Plant closed on August 16, 1945, just one day after the announcement of surrender by Japan. Theland acquired to build Pantex was leased to Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) for $1.
1951–1991: Pantex Rebuilt for Cold War Era
The development of nuclear weapons that led to the end of the Second World War, also ushered in a new type of war – the Cold War. The Pantex Plant played a key role in the Cold War, assembling thousands of nuclear warheads that helped maintain the détente between the Soviets and the West. The federal government reclaimed the land and facilities that made up the Pantex Plant in 1951 and undertook a building campaign to create a cornerstone of thenuclear weapons complex. The Pantex mission continued to grow over the decades as other facilities closed and responsibilities for modification, surveillance, assembly and high explosives operations were moved to the site. Since 1975, Pantex has been the nation’s primary assembly, disassembly, retrofit and modification center for nuclear weapons.
The Present and Future of Pantex
The mission of the Pantex Plant promises to be an enduring one as dwindling worldwide stockpiles of nuclear weapons demand increased reliability to maintain the security of the United States through a credible nuclear deterrent.
Pantex continues its key role of ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile: excess weapons are dismantled, surveillance is conducted on the stockpile and aging weapons are maintained through Life Extension Programs.
The critical and unique nature of work done at Pantex ensures that the site will continue to secure America for decades to come.
Credit: Katie Braughton, Pantex Cultural Resources
For source material and more information on Pantex history, please check out Pantex Plant History (energy.gov), 12/20/2021
By 1908, workers and their unions had grown restive over the preceding two decades. Sporadic efforts to raise wages, secure an eight-hour day and to gain some semblance of equality with management were frustrated byindifferent lawmakers and aggressive management organizations. Unions had no legal status, and lawmakers werecavalier about responding to the concerns of workers.
It was June 15, 1908. The AFL [American Federation of Labor] Executive Board officially chartered four new departments for the Federation, including the Metal Trades, the Building Trades, the Union Label and theRailroad Department.
The Metal Trades Department [MTD] held its founding convention in Cincinnati, in February 1909. The concept behind the Metal Trades had incubated since the 1890s, largely on the strength of efforts by the IAM [International Associationof Machinists and Aerospace Workers] to create unity among the many unions representing workers in the metal trades.At the IAM’s urging, a number of interested organizations held a conference in 1894 where the parties elected Lee Johnson president of the nascent organization, joined by William Anderson as secretary treasurer and James O’Connell, vice president.
The organization was realigned as the Federated Metal Trades on a national basis during the 1900 AFL Convention, under the leadership of President James Cramer and Secretary L.R. Thomas. That forerunner of the MTD operated independent of the AFL for the next eight years until the AFL formally chartered it in June 1908 with anaggregate membership of some 600,000 workers.
As of today, the MTD is a coalition of 17 National and International labor unions, and 31 local Metal Trades Councils, that cover work in shipyards, nuclear facilities, petrochemical plants and various other areas of expertise in both the USA and Canada.
For source material and more information on the MTD, please check out Metal Trades Department, 12/20/2021
From the end of World War II to 1950, the Texas Panhandle had lulled in both construction and production, putting adamper on local economies and the organization of the trades unions. Then in 1951, with the prospect of the Pantex Ordnance Plant, the Army reactivation of the air school, the Phillips Petroleum Company, and Canadian River Damproject, O. A. Townsend and F. E. Prock of local unions, sent notification to the Building and Construction TradesCouncil in Washington D.C. that Amarillo’s future is brighter than any other area in Texas.
In 1951, the Proctor & Gamble Defense Corporation was given authority by the Atomic Energy Commission to manage and operate the Pantex Ordnance Plant. That same year, the Metal Trades Council of Amarillo & Vicinity (MTC) was chartered, and by 1952 had successfully negotiated a two-year contract with the Corporation. In a segment posted in is what is now known as the “Pantexan” Vol. I Issue 2, August 15, 1952:
The National Labor Relations Board conducted an election at Pantex Ordnance Plant on Wednesday, July 30, to choose a bargaining representative. An affiliate of the American Federation of Labor, the Metal Trades Council of Amarillo and Vicinity, won the election and, at the preliminary meeting on Tuesday, August 5, drew up the agenda for the contract negotiations. The committee, at the preliminary meeting,scheduled August 13 as the date for commencing formal negotiations on the contract.
Since its founding, the MTC has successfully negotiated numerous contracts with six different contractors, including: Mason & Hanger, Day Zimmerman, BWXT, B&W, and CNS. The next contractor to manage Pantex will be Nuclear Production One llc, as announced on November, 11 2021 by the National Nuclear Security Administration.While contractors come and go, the Metal Trades Council endures.
Metal Trades Council of Amarillo & Vicinity (MTC) serves as an “umbrella union” for the 10 local unions at thePantex plant. Chartered in 1951, they now cover:
The purpose of this Council is to act decisively through unity of purpose and action to effectively protect and promote the interests of the membership of its affiliated local unions. To do so, it engages in meaningful negotiation and administration of Labor Agreements with those employees with whom the Council is the recognized collective bargaining representative to the end that the Council’s affiliated membership will enjoy an ever-higher standard of living and an assurance that they will be treated fairly and equitably by their employer. They organize constructivelegislative education-action programs to insure that the Council’s affiliated membership recognize and accept theirresponsibilities as citizens in strengthening our democracy.
International Offices of the MTD:
President James V. Hart
Operations Director Lisa Johnson
MTD General Representative Benjamin Heurung
MTD General Representative Dale M. Troll
MTD Executive Council:
|James Hart (UA)
|Newton Jones (IBB)
|Robert Martinez (IAM)
|James Callahan (IUOE)
|Daniel Stepano (OPCMIA)
|Joseph Sellers (SMART)
|Mark McManus (UA)
|Lonnie Stephenson (IBEW)
|Jimmy Williams (IUPAT)
|Terrence Larkin (HFIAW)
Local Officers of the MTC:
President/Chief Steward: Robin Harris
Vice President: Brent Matlock
Recording Secretary: Don Wallace
Financial Secretary: Shaun Ashley
Financial Treasurer: Rob Briggs
Sargent at Arms: JJ Paetzold
Trustee: Kirk Spear
Trustee: Jerry Fitzsimmons
Trustee: Jay Brandenburg
Office Clerk: Linda Brohlin
Safety Officer: Raynor Muniz
Safety Officer: Phillip Caudill
Safety Officer: Donny Perry
Safety Culture Advocate: Ryan Warren
The nucleus of our Brotherhood was formed in 1890 in St. Louis, Missouri. An exposition was held in St. Louis that year featuring “a glorious display of electrical wonders.” Electricians from all over the country flocked to St. Louis to wire the buildings and exhibits.
The men got together at the end of each workday and talked about the conditions for workers in the electrical industry. The work was hard and dangerous: the hours long: the pay small. A union was the logical answer: so this small group, with the help of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), was chartered as the Electrical Wireman and Linemen’s Union, NO. 5221. Henry Miller, a St. Louis lineman, was elected president.
Most of us have very limited bargaining power as one person, but as a group, we are strong. And, with a good negotiated contract, we have legal protections we would not have otherwise.
On November 21, 1891 the first convention was called in St. Louis with ten delegates representing 286 members. These ten founders of our union met in a small room above Stolley’s Dance hall. It was a humble beginning
The outcomes of this first meeting put together the framework of our organization. The Constitutional Preamble was written and is listed below this paragraph. Also the name of the organization – National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – was chosen. Even our emblem, the hand grasping the lightning bolt, was established at this first convention.
The objects of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are:
The International Offices of the IBEW are located in Washington D.C. The International President Lonnie Stephenson and International Secretary Treasurer Kenneth Cooper and their staff have their offices there.
The International Offices and the International Executive Council are responsible for the administration of the IBEW Constitution and provide guidance and assistance to Local Unions through District Offices. There are 11 districts across the United States and Canada. Each District is comprised of a geographical area that covers several states or provinces. We are in the 7th District, which covers Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Our International Vice President is Steve Spears, and our International Representative is Todd Newkirk.
The Local Union Organization
IBEW Local 602 was chartered in Amarillo in 1911. In November of 1999, Local Unions 460 Midland and 850 Lubbock were amalgamated into Local 602. With the addition of the two locals, IBEW Local 602 now covers 67 counties and 84,512 square miles.
The Employer and the Union have a common and sympathetic interest in the Electrical Industry. Therefore, a working system and harmonious relations are necessary to improve the relationship between the Employer, the Union, and the Public. Progress in industry demands a mutuality of confidence between the Employer and the Union. All will benefit by continuous peace and by adjusting any differences by rational, common-sense methods.
The Employer recognizes the Union as the exclusive representative of all its employees performing work within the jurisdiction of the Union for the purpose of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment and other conditions of employment. Any and all such employees shall receive at least the minimum wages and work under the conditions of this Agreement.
The Union understands the Employer is responsible to perform the work required by the owner. The Employer shall, therefore, have no restrictions except those specifically provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, in planning, directing and controlling the operation of all his work, in deciding the number and kind of employees to properly perform the work, in hiring and laying off employees, in transferring employees from job to job within the Local Union’s geographical jurisdiction, in determining the need and number as well as the person who will act as Foreman, in requiring all employees to observe the Employer’s and/or owner’s rules and regulations not inconsistent with this Agreement, in requiring all employees to observe all safety regulations, and in discharging employees for proper cause.
The IBEW Constitution
The constitution is the foundation of our Brotherhood. It is a document that is binding to all Local Unions who belong to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The constitution spells out the rules of the IBEW. It establishes the processes and procedures for the International Officers and District Officers. Every 5 years the IBEW holds a Constitutional Convention. Delegates are elected by the membership of each Local Union to attend. Any amendments or proposals for new rules are introduced, debated and voted on by the delegates at the Convention.
Local 602 By-laws
The Local 602 Bylaws define the specific rules, identities, roles and responsibilities of IBEW Local 602, its officers, and its members. New By-laws or amendments maybe proposed in writing by any member in good standing of the Local Union. Proposals may be submitted to the Local Office or to a member of the Executive Board. Proposals are then read at an official meeting, and debated and voted on by the membership at the following official meeting. If ratified by the membership, they are submitted for review and approval from our International Offices. This is spelled out in Article XVIII of our By-laws.
Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA)
A CBA is the working agreement for the various classifications of workers. It describes the terms and working conditions that have been negotiated by Labor and Management for the duration of the contract cycle. Each agreement is made up of conditions the employers must abide by which were fought and earned over many decades. It also details the conditions that labor must honor. The Agreements are legally binding contracts and can be considered the “Law of the Land” as far as electrical work is concerned.
The Agreements are “opened” for negotiations based on the duration of the last settled contract. (For example, the last Inside Agreement was settled in 2012 for a 3 year contract. So this contract will stand for 3 years and the next Inside Agreement negotiations will be held in 2015.) Representatives from both the Local Union and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) each create a Negotiation Committee to discuss each side’s proposed changes to the Agreement.
To date we have Agreements in the Following Areas:
The Union is always looking for new ideas to add to our negotiated contract language from our membership. The Constitution, By-laws and the Working Agreements are “our” rules. They are the rules that establish our code of conduct and provide a stable platform for the dignity and security of our membership. Everything we gain in negotiations, like improved working conditions or increased wages, must be bargained for. It is a mutual process where both sides must bring professionalism and integrity to the table.
MTC Meetings and Times
The MTC uses a delegate system following with Roberts Rules of Order, in accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws of the Metal Trades Department. Each local union is entitled to six delegates, and the allocation of votes is based on the membership of the respective unions at the Pantex Plant.
MTC: 2nd Monday of each month, 6pm at 200 S. Fannin
IBB 531: Last Saturday of each month, 10am at 1505 SW 7th
IAFF 1117: Meet upon notification. Contact Brent Matlock for more information.
IAM 1255: 1st Mondayof each month, 5:30pm at 4230 State Highway 136
IBEW 602: 2nd Wednesday of each month, 7:30pm at 200 S. Fannin
IUOE 340: 1stThursday of each month, 5:30pm at 702 S Madison
GMP 404: Meet upon notification. Contact Richard Stone for more information.
OPEIU 306: 4thMonday of each month (Sept – May), 5:30pm at 1505 W. 7th
IUPAT 53: Meet upon notification.Contact JJ Paetzold for more information.
UA 404: 1st Tuesday of each month, 7pm at 1505 W. 7th
SMART 49: Meet upon notification. Contact Brack Mickey for more information.
IBEW Regular Meetings
IBEW Special Meetings
IBEW Executive Board Meetings
IBEW Informational Meetings
Some notes about IBEW meetings
Official Meetings observe Roberts Rules of Order.
Monthly Dues Breakdown
Dues are paid on a monthly basis and conveniently deducted from your paycheck. These funds are distributed to four entities: the MTC, the MTD, your local union, and your local’s international. Despite popular belief, it is illegal for your union dues to support any political candidate. Your Union uses these resources to pay for Officers training and salaries, printing and office material, legal and accounting expenses, arbitrations, audits, and more. The financials are audited by reputable accounting firms and approved by the Executive Boards each year.
Monthly Dues for an IBEW A member are $57.50 per month through 2022 and $38.50 for a B member. Monthly dues amounts are determined at the International Convention held every 5 years. In accordance with the Local By-laws, these dues are payable in advance and no later than the first of each month. After three months of late dues, the member will be in arrears and become ineligible for International Pensions. To become current, a $30 re-instatement fee is assessed. After 6 months of late dues, the member is dropped from membership.
The breakdown of Monthly IBEW A member Dues is as follows:
All pay and benefits are defined in the current Articles of Agreement, 2019-2024 MTC/CNS Contract. Please refer to the Contract for information on Insurance, Classification, Wages, Schedules, Overtime, Leave, Holidays, Paid Time Off,Seniority Rights, Termination, Sick Leave, Working Rules, Assignment of Work, Safety and Health, GrievanceProcedures, Retirement, and other areas of interest.
“I believe this discussion could lead to my being disciplined. I therefore request that my union representative or officer be present to assist me at the meeting. I further request reasonable time to consult with my union representative regarding the subject and purpose of the meeting. Please consider this a continuing request; without representation, I shall not participate in the discussion. I shall not consent to any searches or tests affecting my person, property, or effects without first consulting with my union representative.”
“I think this might get me in trouble. I want a Union rep.”
When employers investigate employees, there is always a chance they could use coercive or even deceptive methods. The US Supreme Court ruled in 1975 that employees have a protected right, known as Weingarten Rights, to request union assistance and can refuse to answer questions until the individual has the proper representation. Not only can Stewards serve as a witness, but the representative can also offer advice on how to answer questions, help the employee avoid making fatal admissions, object to intimidating questions, ask for specifics, insist on private meetings with the employee, and point out extenuating circumstances, among other things.
The right to union representation relates to all investigations or “fact-findings.” Of course, not every conversation with a manager is an investigatory interview, and rarely do run-of-the-mill discussions turn sour. In such cases, Stewards aren’t needed where the likelihood of discipline is remote; however, should things take a turn for the worse, employees are encouraged to exercise their Weingarten Rights.
Once representation has been requested, the employer may: A) delay questioning until the union representative has arrived, or B) discontinue the interview. If the employer/manager denies the request and/or continues the interview, they commit an unfair labor practice as in accordance with the National Labor Relations Act, and the employee cannot be charged with insubordination for refusing to answer questions.
Since the IBEW’s first days, we have achieved our goals by welcoming new members into our Brotherhood. As we increase our numbers, our ability to bargain for better wages and conditions grows as well. The IBEW Constitution states that we must organize all workers of our trade into Local Unions. A well-organized union is one that can make its voice heard and can legitimately claim to speak for the majority of workers in the industry.
The issues today are much the same as they were over 100 years ago. Improving safety, enhancing workplace dignity, and building a secure retirement have always been the goals. It is our right as American workers to join together and protect ourselves, our families and each other. Members of the IBEW have proven, that when workers unite, we can win better wages, affordable healthcare, improved staffing, retirement security, education opportunities and other improvements.
What organizing really means is that we must continuously invite workers of our trade into our Union. This means you! It means talking about being a Union member to the guy you went to high school with. It means inviting the non-union electricians that you know to join us and enjoy our benefits and wages.
When you think about what organizing means to you, think about whether you want your quality of life to improve, to be able to spend more time with your family, to be able to collectively bargain a raise. It is through hard work and organizing, bringing in more members, that we improve our standing. Organizing is what has given us the strength to negotiate every gain that has been made. Let your electrician friends and neighbors know that there is a place for them in the union.
There is a sentiment from a small minority of our current members that we do not need any more new members. This could not be further from the truth. It is simple mathematics. The strength of our hard-bargained for retirement benefits improves when we increase the number of members. It is your own retirement security that you improve when you bring a new member into our Union.
Safety is at the Core of Everything we do!
Integrity, Trust, Respect, Brotherhood, Excellence
Integrity – We seek and speak the truth, confront ethical challenges, and always “do the right thing.”
What integrity is: Follow through on commitments / Communicate bad news quickly / Verify information before passing it on / Address difficult issues / Admit when you are wrong
What integrity isn’t: Withhold information / Portray something as better or worse than it is / Fix blame or take credit inappropriately / Make decisions only to please
Trust – We enter into every interaction with the belief that the person is acting with positive intentions. And we always behave in the way that earns trust from employees, customers, and co-workers.
What trust is: Ask for clarification / Seek to understand / Allow venting and address negative comments /Openly share information / Do what you say
What trust isn’t: Leave issues unsaid and festering / Hesitate to ask for help / Conceal weaknesses or mistakes / Speculate on the intentions of others / Over-promise but under-deliver /
Reverse positions without sharing new information
Respect – We foster an inclusive environment where all employees are comfortable contributing their unique perspectives. We value all opinions.
What respect is: Assume positive intent / Treat others as you want to be treated / Value people regardless of roles / Be on time to meetings / Understand the perspective of the other person
What respect isn’t: Use derogatory references about people / Talk behind people’s back / Usurp authority / Initiate last-minute changes to schedules or priorities / Belittle recommendations of others
Brotherhood – We actively partner with peers, colleagues, and stakeholders across the industry to reach ourgoals.
What teamwork is: Encourage healthy debate until a decision is made / Support team decisions even if you disagree / Collaborate and point out contributions of others / Focus on achieving collective results / Celebrate team achievements/ “I am my brother’s keeper”
What teamwork isn’t: Inattentive or not engaged during team interactions / Finger pointing at team members / Pooror untimely communications / Insufficient priority for team efforts / Criticize decisions that were not your preference
Excellence – We strive for precision in our work execution and in the basis for every decision.
What excellence is: Present verified source data / Evaluate decisions based on defined criteria and technical or programmatic merit / Make decisions based on written justification / Verify validity of assumptions forprevious decisions
What excellence isn’t: Accept “good enough” thinking / Assume someone else will check the details / Leaving loose ends unanswered
The Business office of your local union. The Hall includes the meeting space which is available for Member’s use under the guidelines established. Monthly Union Meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of every month in Amarillo at 7:30 PM and the 1st Thursday of every month in Lubbock.
The geographical area which separates local unions of the same craft. Also the lines that separate the different craft specialties such as: electrical, iron, plumbing, insulators, sheet-metal, etc.
The Principle Officer of the Local Union, whom handles the day to day business of the Local Union.
The President of the Union presides over Union and Building Corp. Meetings. The President also approves all committee appointments.
The Vice-President presides over meetings in the absence of the President.
Records the Minutes of the Local Union Meeting.
Examines applicants for membership of the Local Union.
The Executive Board handles the business of the Local Union between Union meetings, serve as the trial board, & fill vacancies in offices.
The Business Manager’s representative who works on the jobsite. The Steward is under direct supervision of the Business Manager.
Every member of the IBEW is tasked with organizing. It is our duty to organize all workers in the entire electrical industry in the United States, including all those in public utilities and electrical manufacturing, into local unions.
Your dues receipt that shows you are a paid up member in-good-standing of your local union. The by-laws state that you must show your card to a fellow member when asked.
A legal work stoppage, usually, because of problems with contract, payments to benefits programs, or jurisdiction.
A premium rate of pay for working longer hours, weekends, and holidays. Remember that Organized Labor has worked for over 100 years to establish a 40-hour workweek.
Non-financial compensation provided under the negotiated contract such as insurance or retirement plans.
The employer is responsible for maintaining a safe job site, but ultimately you are the authority on your personal safety. If you see something on the job that is unsafe, stop the work and tell the proper person immediately.
Precedence in rank as a result in a members length of service.
When any party to the agreement feels that there has been a violation of the contact, they can file a grievance to settle the matter. The matter can be settled locally by the Labor Management committee or by the C.I.R.
This is the process the local union can use to discipline a member(s) who break(s) the rules of the local or international union. Charges can be violations of the working agreement, constitution, by-laws, or a combination of all.
Sources and Special Thanks:
Braughton, K. – Pantex Cultural Resources, Personal Communication, 12/27/2021
History |Pantex Plant (energy.gov), 12/20/2021
Deeter, D. D. – Pantex Production Technician, Personal Communication, 12/27/2021