Vought Aircraft Machinists Awarded Million In Back Pay


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Vought Aircraft Machinists Awarded Million In Back Pay

Jim Douglas

January 12, 2011 - An arbitrator recently ruled that members of Local 735 in Nashville, TN, were not properly compensated by their employer Vought Aircraft, and awarded them more than $1 million in back vacation pay. 

In September 2008, after months of negotiations for a new contract, Local 735 members rejected Vought?s final proposal and voted to strike. The strike lasted 16 weeks, ending in January 2009, at which time, a new contract became effective. 

Among the changes in the new contract was a revised formula for calculating members? vacation pay. The old contract called for employees to accrue vacation time and to be paid based on gross earnings from the previous year.

Under the new agreement, employees would receive vacation pay based on their current earnings. District 711 Business Representative Chuck Killebrew said, "The members believed that vacation pay from June 2008 until the strike occurred in September 2008 should be calculated and paid under the terms of the old contract." However, Vought took the position that the vacation language had changed under the new contract and that employees were not due anything from their earnings after June 2008. 

Local 735 filed a grievance, which was eventually heard by an arbitrator. The arbitrator issued an award granting the grievance in its entirety, stating that the company was to pay all employees vacation pay on all earnings for the period requested, plus interest. ?This is a big win for the membership of Local 735,? said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. ?We are very thankful for this just decision.? 

To date, 662 employees have received an average payout of more than $1,500 per employee, totaling some $1,000,631. Vought is the name of several related aerospace firms. These have included, in the past, Lewis and Vought Corporation, Chance Vought, Vought Sikorsky, LTV Aerospace (part of Ling-Temco-Vought), Vought Aircraft Companies, and the current Vought Aircraft Industries.

The first incarnation of Vought was established by Chance M. Vought and Birdseye Lewis in 1917. In 1928, it was acquired by United Aircraft Corporation, the first of many reorganizations and buyouts. Vought produced thousands of planes during World War II, including the F4U Corsair. Ling-Temco-Vought bought Vought in 1961, and while designing and producing a variety of planes and missiles throughout the Cold War, suffered numerous reorganizations.


Vought was sold from LTV and owned in various degrees by the Carlyle Group and Northrop Grumman in the early 1990s. It was then fully bought by Carlyle, renamed Vought Aircraft Industries, and continues aerospace work today, with headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Northrop Grumman, the successor to Northrop and Grumman, respectively, bought out the Carlyle Group's share of Vought for $130 million in 1994. The Carlyle Group then purchased the entire company from Northrop Grumman in 2000, establishing Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc., the current incarnation. It is now primarily an aerostructures subcontractor.


Vought is heavily involved in the Boeing 747, Boeing 787 aircraft as well as supplying parts for the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II and the V-22 Osprey. In July 2003, the Aerostructures Corp., owned by the Carlyle Group and based in Nashville, Tennessee, merged with Vought. Vought's Nashville site supplies wing components for Airbus A319, A320, A330, and A340. 

Boeing announced in July 2009 that it had agreed to acquire the North Charleston, South Carolina facility of Vought Aircraft Industries, where Vought builds sections 47 and 48 of the aft fuselage for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. Boeing agreed to pay $580 million for the facility. In June 2010, the Carlyle Group sold Vought to the Triumph Group, an aerospace component manufacturer. The Vought acquisitions now operate as Triumph Aerostructures Vought Aircraft Division.



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