Frequently Asked Questions

1. I am hearing conflicting information from the union and the Sandia website. Who is right?

Sandia cannot control rumors. As a highly regulated federal contractor, we are committed to providing factual information.

2. Will I lose my job if I cross the picket line to work?

No. Sandia hires and fires, not the union. We will not terminate any employee for exercising his/her legal right to work during a strike, in support of our critical national defense mission.

3. Can the union have me fired for crossing a picket line?

No. The union cannot require us to fire anyone. The union can, however, fine or penalize active union members. Employees who wish to work during a strike may resign their union membership before returning to work.

4. How do I notify the union to resign my membership to return to work?

That is governed by the terms of your membership, but you should consider copying Sandia HR to confirm revocation of your dues check-off from your paycheck.

5. How does a represented employee come to work during a strike, and what happens if they do?

If there is a strike, MTC-represented employees may participate in the strike or may come to work. Employees wishing to continue working will need to call their manager to regain access to the work site. Sandia will welcome anyone who wishes to continue working. The MTC may fine or penalize members who come to work during a strike, unless the employee resigns his/her union membership before crossing the picket line. Any represented employees who choose to come to work will not lose their jobs as a result of an eventual agreement for a new contract.

6. If the union votes to strike and I am an MTC-represented employee, can I still come to work or do I have to join the picket line?

Employees have a federally protected right to work. Represented employees have the right not to strike and to report for work without experiencing intimidation or threats.

7. Can the union fine me if I am represented by MTC and cross the picket line and come to work?

Union-represented employees could be fined by the union for not honoring the picket line in the event of a strike. The MTC can impose fines or union discipline on any current, oath-taking member who crosses the picket line to come to work. If, however, an employee effectively resigns his or her union membership before crossing the picket line, the union cannot fine or discipline that employee.

In order to effectively resign from being an oath-taking member of the union, an employee must send a resignation letter to the union by certified mail or hand delivery. Keep in mind that you likely cannot participate in any ratification vote if you resign prior to the vote. Once you resign, you may cross the picket line and come to work as usual, and the union will not be able to fine and/or discipline you. You can find more information about your rights on the National Labor Relations Board website.

Every vote counts and we encourage all members to exercise their right to vote.

Sandia expresses no opinion regarding what action employees should take, and is not suggesting that employees should resign their union membership.

8. Do striking employees get paid?

No. Employees who choose to strike will not be paid any wages, and most benefits also will cease.

9. If an employee strikes, what happens to their paycheck from the previous week?

If an employee chooses to strike, any wages earned prior to that time will be paid just as in the case of any other extended absence from work. We will notify any union-represented employees receiving paper checks of how paychecks will be made available.

10. Can striking employees still enter Kirtland Air Force Base?

In the event of a strike, striking employees' contractor badge will immediately be de-activated. Kirtland AFB officials have asked that only those with an official reason to access the base (e.g., retired military) do so.

11. What about vacation? Can employees receive vacation pay if they go on strike?

No wages, other than those earned before the strike, will be paid to striking employees.

12. Do employees continue to earn vacation pay while they are striking?

No, employees don’t earn any vacation while they are striking. 

13. Will strikers still get Sandia health benefits? 

Health benefits would remain company-paid until the end of the month in which a strike occurred, then strikers would be eligible to continue their benefits at full cost under COBRA.

14. Will employees get paid for holidays while on strike?

No. Employees who decide to go on strike will not be entitled to holiday pay.

15. Are striking employees eligible to collect unemployment benefits?

Information on unemployment benefits can be found in New Mexico Statute, N.M. Stat. Ann. §51-1-7.

16. Will striking guarantee better wages and benefits for union-represented employees in the future?

Typically, strikers never make up the wages and benefits lost during the strike. The lost wages calculator can help employees track how much pay they may lose over time if the strike continues.

17. If I strike, will I receive back pay for the time I missed once the strike is settled and a new contract is in place?

Backpay is not required, and Sandia does not believe compensating striking employees for time not worked is a responsible use of taxpayer funds.

18. Should a strike take place, could access to the base be blocked by picketers? What should I do if I can't get to work?

If a strike occurs, the union may establish picket lines at the base gate. KAFB may take additional actions to minimize disruption to the rest of the KAFB community.

Use of orderly picket lines by the union is legal, but the union has no right to prevent employees from entering or leaving Sandia at will. We are confident the union will not condone violence, and we will not tolerate misconduct on the picket line, such as threats, force, mass picketing, or similar conduct. If you have further questions, concerns, or issues, call Sandia’s Security hotline at (505) 845-1321.

19. Are there changes to the workplace that I should expect during a work stoppage?

Yes. Some services may be curtailed. Should a work stoppage occur, more information will be provided.