Union members agreed Monday to a new labor proposal (see below, An End in Sight), enabling them to return to work immediately at Vance AFB, Okla., ending a two-week old strike that sent a portion of the student pilots at Vance to other Air Education and Training Command facilities. A note on the Vance Web site simply states: “We’re focused on putting our team back together to accomplish the mission. The base will undergo a process called ‘reconstitution’ to ensure that flying operations resume safely.” According to a NewsOK.com report, some union members returned to work for the midnight and 4:30 a.m. shifts. A local union representative said the vote was 550-155 to accept the new deal with CSC Applied Technologies. In addition to transferring out some of its student pilots, Vance imported 31 Air Force firefighters from other bases in Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas to fill in for contracted firefighters. Sen. James Inhofe noted in a June 22 statement: “The impact of the two-week strike that caused a training shutdown at Vance was felt across the Air Force. It will take months to make up for the lost time, and the Air Force will have to shoulder an increase in training costs and widespread hardships.” He expressed concern of the impact upon Vance’s future, but he believes “Vance is too important to Enid and Enid is too important to Vance to allow contractual disagreements to get in the way of Vance’s mission and the tremendous community support that Enid provides.” (Includes Vance report by Joe Wiles)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.