It's one of the largest employers in Amarillo. They're also one of the highest paying jobs you can have in the area.

Getting hired is an accomplishment in itself, due to the stringent background checks and requirements. Why? Because it's the nation's one and only site for disassembling nuclear weapons. Yes, you guessed it, Pantex.

Problems at Pantex

The workers at Pantex are part of a union. The contract between the union and Pantex is up on April 7th. As a result, renewal negotiations have been in the works. And it has not been going well.

A proposed contract presented on Friday was voted down and a strike was voted into effect if an agreement is not reached by April 7th.

Now there are different types of strikes, and each one is a bit different from one another. We'll dive into what those are and what type of strike Pantex is looking at going on.

Google Maps
Google Maps

What Types of Strikes Are There?

One is an economic strike. Reasons for economic strikes include benefits, wages, or working conditions. The other type is an unfair labor practice strike. This is something that would be determined by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) based on a finding of merit.

One of the key differences is that if the strike is deemed an economic strike, the company can effectively replace those employees without penalty. The employer also would not be forced to give the striking employees their job back once the strike has ended.

Have Pantex Workers Gone on Strike Before?

The short answer to that is yes. The most notable occurred in 2015 and lasted approximately three months. That strike was wrapped more around benefits. They wanted to have a benefits valuation done to see if they matched up with other companies in the area.

In that strike, the Metal Trades Commission (MTC) alleged that Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) changed a labor contract that was originally filed. The allegation stated that at the end of the year, they (CNS) switched insurance providers and didn't follow through with the services and benefits that had been approved and done.

This strike was deemed an economic strike because it related to benefits.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Why Are Pantex Workers Voting to Strike This Time?

To put it simply: wages. Critics of the new contract say that their pay would not reflect inflation and the rising cost of living. According to some documents we have obtained relating to the union's proposal, workers are seeking a 19% wage increase throughout the five-year contract.

There are also concerns as to the higher pay structure of Production Techs, the workers with a skill set wholly unique to their job at Pantex. Other workers cited problems with retention incentives, insurance caps, and the protocols for requesting a pay raise review.

What To Expect Next

When the contract bargaining agreement was voted down on Friday, the strike was voted in with a deadline of April 7 for negotiations.

A large group of workers have expressed frustration with the rejected agreement, citing concerns that the next offer would not be as good as the initial one. No recent updates have been posted to the IAMAW Local 1255 page as of the time of this publishing.

I personally know someone who said they wouldn't strike because they can't afford to lose their job or pay, and I know another who is already looking for a job that will fill the gap if/when workers go on strike. It seems employees are very torn on what to do.

OPPORTUNITIES: These Are the Highest-Paying Jobs in Amarillo That Don’t Require a College Degree

Stacker ranked the 50 highest-paying jobs in Amarillo that don't require a college degree, using annual compensation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

25 Songs that Mention Amarillo

Even though Amarillo is a small city, it is a city that is used in many songs, and through many genres.

It's always fun to hear your city in a song.

Here are a list of songs that include Amarillo in the lyrics.

Gallery Credit: Lori Crofford


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