WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon says Robins Air Force Base's annual economic impact of $2.9 billion could be in jeopardy.
Thursday at a 21st Century Partnership Forum at the Museum of Aviation, McMahon called on base and union management to cut down on the number of grievances filed by workers each year.
In this fiscal year alone, 303 grievances have been filed among Robins and its two sister bases, Hill in Utah, and Tinker in Oklahoma.
Of those 303, 204 came from Robins. McMahon fears those numbers could imply weak labor relations
and put the base at risk in the next round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). That's set for 2015.
McMahon says some grievances are necessary but that some complaints could be left unfiled.
"There are folks out there that perhaps believe that their work environment ought to be a certain way, and when it can't be, for a safety reason, for example, they might file a grievance," says McMahon. "We've got to make sure folks understand that this isn't Burger King. You can't always have it your way."
We reached out to Tom Scott, president of the local union chapter. Scott says while he supports an effort to work together with base management, a closer look needs to be taken at the root cause of why these grievances are being filed.
In a statement to 41NBC, Scott wrote, "The indicators of complaints cannot be solely gauged on just grievance since there are other venues employees can use to resolve complaints like administrative grievances, EEO complaints, MSPB, and Congressional inquires that are outside the Union's control. A review of all of them and compared to the other centers may be more of an appropriate indicator to review and then examine the possible root causes that may have generated them."
We also reached out to base leadership today for their response to McMahon's request. Installation Commander Col. Mitchel Butikofer sent us this statement:
"Improving the lines of communication and cooperation with labor is an area where we can and must do better. We need a strong partnership based on trust and confidence. We welcome any opportunities to improve our partnership with the union so that we can continue to provide the cost-effective readiness our nation needs."
Again, the next round of BRAC is set for 2015, followed by another round in 2017.