L3Harris is one of the largest Defense investment companies in the world, buying up DoD companies left and right. Recently L3Harris Purchased Aerojet Rocketdyne which produces rockets, motors, and much more. They manufacture and supply the US government and space exploration companies. L3Harris is an absolute Tech Titan when it comes to state-of-the-art research and design for weapons systems and military crafts on land, water and in the air.
L3 became interested in Aerojet after L3’s own profits soared due to the war in Ukraine reaching between $18 and $19 billion. Aerojet was purchased for $4.7 billion and has locations around the country which produce rocket motors for NASA, solid rocket motors for missiles along with many other missile and defense programs.
When hearing about who the new owners were, employees at Aerojet in Camden were eager to see how things would change for the better. A giant multi-billion-dollar company with defense sites all over the world is the new owner, hoping for better pay, better benefits, these people are at the top of the industry! However, it was no surprise to organized labor when employees started contacting the IAMAW (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers) for help. The IAM represents 49 sites owned by L3Harris. Facilities just like Camden that get bought out and squeezed for every nickel that can be saved to please shareholders and investors. Aerojet Rocketdyne delivered $455 million in profits for Aug.-Sept (60 days after purchase), according to L3Harris’s Investor Letter for the 3rd Quarter, 2023 which is available to the public here. L3Harris Q32023 Investor Letter
On January 1st, L3’s policies came into effect and after the company announced a whopping 10% wage increase, things started to look up. However, the new benefit packages were not what these workers expected. Let's get into it, and at the end we will discuss why corporations as big as L3Harris often do this to their workforce.
HSA- (Health Savings Account) Aerojet Rocketdyne in Camden was generous enough to give the Camden employees the same monetary contribution that the IAM (Machinist Union) negotiated for the members working in Florida. For employees that chose the family healthcare plan, they received $2,500.00 a year into their HSA, which almost covered their $3,000.00 plan deductible. Employees that chose the single plan were awarded 1,250.00 into their HSA which fully covered the single plans $1,000.00 deductible. L3Harris has chosen to take $1,000.00 from that HSA for both plans. Camden workers under the new plan also saw an increase in their deductible to both the family and single plans by an additional $1,000.00. What is even more atrocious is the prescription drug coverage under this new plan. The previous plan had separate drug coverage, but L3 has bundled that into the main health insurance provider. The plan requires employees to pay the entire deductible before any coverage at all is applied to prescription drugs. What was a $5 dollar co-pay is now costing these workers up to $1,000.00 to get their children prescriptions they need. L3’s Dental insurance is $80.00/Month more than the previous plan, and upcoming appointments that were made months ago for pediatric dental care, are now out of network. L3Harris did send out notice that they would be making a one-time lump sum payment to all eligible employees to cover the difference in the new healthcare costs. Many employees are saying that was another lie.
We asked employees to give anonymous testimonials about the changes in their health insurance, these workers did not hold back their discontent with the new parent company.
(All employee names shall be kept anonymous due to fear of retaliation.)
“These big wig outsiders just came in and banked on us being some backwoods hicks not good at budgeting and keeping up with our money, just holding stuff together with duct tape… I’m not stupid and I know my finances!” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“Many people are thinking about quitting because the new insurance is absolutely horrible. Medicine that was originally 10-15$ are now over 1000$. My building specifically has worked every day this year so far besides two days and those were the days that we couldn't make it because of the weather. The raises were nice and everything but if I knew I was going to be working 30+ days at a time then I would have turned it down. We need a work life balance and that's what they don't seem to understand. The people making these decisions have no clue what it takes to meet these schedules they have made up for us and promised the customer. I recently asked about incentives for our team since we have been going above and beyond to continue to make this schedule and the manager told me he doesn't think there are any incentives besides a pat on the back and a "good job". We also asked about this last year before the end of the year, because we worked a lot of weekends throughout the year, and we were told that we get paid to be here on the weekend and that was incentive.” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“My supervisor went to fill prescriptions for first time since insurance changed over, what was a $3 or $4 co pay is now over $1000 for him because they went cheap and the RX plan is now combined with medical, and you have to hit your deductible before any of the prescriptions are covered.” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“HSA dropped by $1000, deductible went up by $1000, pricing went up so much I had to take a worse plan and drop dental just to keep it close. They dropped company paid life insurance as well…” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“Personally, I have me, my wife and my 2 kids on my insurance. Medical, Dental, and Vision. The raise did help offset the cost of the deductions from my check. But the company sponsored HSA has Dropped from 2500 to only 1000. And the medical deductible is higher. The prescription “benefits” are a joke. Which only pays once you reach 4000 out of pocket spent. My family and I are Not sickly people with chronic ailments. When we do see a physician for whatever reason, the so-called benefits should benefit us. I pay over 250 per pay period all year.” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“I opted for the higher deductible plan to keep it the same. Seems like it was around 60$ a pay period to keep my single plan as close as possible. But the best plan offered now isn't nearly as good as the worst plan previously offered.” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“My medical according to them with my family went down $20 a month, but my dental went up $80 a month, they are, pardon the expression, going in dry and not asking questions. The deductible is higher, and they did away with separate prescription coverage making you hit your deductible B4 any prescription coverage, I mean we already had the rubber gloves could have given us opportunity to grab a jar of Vaseline or something!” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“The deductible for myself Was 1k, but with an $1,250 HSA to fully cover it. Now they took $1,000 away from my HSA and raised the deductible $1,000.” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“My lead and I had the same insurance last year and this year, apparently my insurance is $200 less this year even though his went up, and because they saved me the $200, justify not paying the difference in my HSA, so I just eat the $1700!! IDK how that is fair.” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“My insurance/benefits went up $300 a pay period granted I went with the THP, and I also had to add one of my dependents to my benefits, so I expected it to go up but not $300. The 10% raise has only truly helped cushion the cost of those benefit changes. I don't see the 10% as a raise as much as I see it as an incentive to keep people under the high-cost benefit rates. My dental plan went up $40 per pay period and my health plan went up $180 a pay period. As far as vacation and sick time being rolled into PTO, I don't see that as big of a problem as the benefits rates increasing.” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“The increase in insurance coupled with the removal of the $2500 that was given to our HSA has hit us hard. Overtime is now a necessity instead of a luxury. The 10% raise did help and was a nice gesture but will not offset these costs. I'm still losing money, just slower now.” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
The plan under the HDHP 1 and HDHP 2 both require you to pay the entire deductible before the insurance covers anything "other than certain preventative drugs". Most employees can only afford these plans. This is on top of the $494.00/Month employees pay out of their paychecks for the insurance in the first place.
($494.00 is based off of HDHP 2/Family plan + Dental.)
New L3Harris implemented policies took effect on January 1st, 2024, which robbed many employees out of raises they would have gotten under the former company owners. L3Harris revised the step-up program which added a year of experience needed to become a level 3 in some classifications, and other classifications now require an associate degree to be eligible. Keep in mind that many of these employees only received 2 days off in January and that was because of the winter storm. The company also required employees to use negative PTO for those 2 days, so the employees now actually owe the company PTO time. Many have said that it will take months before they are out of the negative and can afford a day off. The company changed the sick time and vacation policies/benefits to be combined and re labeled PTO. However, the term is now "Discretionary PTO"
(Notice the reference to Union employees on the image below.)
If employees are forced to work months or weeks at a time without a day off…, how will they ever find the time to get a college degree? We were told of at least one employee that was demoted because under L3’s new qualifications, he was no longer "qualified" to hold his job position.
The 401k plan went up from a 4.5% match of 6%, to a 6% match of 6%. That sounds like a good deal, right? Well, the catch is, under the old plan, employees were immediately vested into the plan. Under the new L3 plan, employees currently employed will be vested, however all future employees are only eligible to receive the company match if they last 3 years in the facility and for their first year hired on, they will receive no company match. We are under the assumption that this new policy will include all temp service workers currently at Aerojet. Under the law, workers employed through a temp agency, work directly for that temp agency and not the company they have been contracted to perform work and services for. From the looks of it, this facility is about to become a revolving door. We have seen this model used by companies like Amazon, they work employees to the point of exhaustion, and they voluntarily quit, but don’t worry..., you can always reapply in 3 months. This model allows the company to keep every bit of the proposed 401k match because most won’t last 3 years.
At Aerojet, the pay scale for each job has a min and a max. Every 4 months employees are eligible for a TRIP raise, which has traditionally been $0.50 an hour. On January 1st, L3Harris decided to take back $0.50 an hour for many employees that have not reached the max pay yet, by resetting everyone’s 4-month TRIP time. Those that were eligible to get an increase in January will now be without and subject to the new L3Harris standards on getting wage increases. By the looks of what we are seeing, is looking grim… We spoke to an employee at Aerojet in Huntsville, AL, who told us they have implemented a committee to determine raises there.
“So, they told us to write an essay about why we think we deserve a raise and turn it into this raise committee or whatever it’s called. I did it, wrote about everything I do at work. The stuff I do that isn’t really my job, but I want to help, and I want our work site to be successful, no attendance problems, no write ups, included all the OT I work, I thought I was good. They denied the raise…, they told me I can re-apply for it again in 4 months.” -Aerojet, Huntsville Employee
It's not known yet if the Camden employees will be subject to the same kind of dog and pony show, but it isn’t looking good at this point. We asked some of the Aerojet workers in Camden what they had to say about these changes, and these are the responses we received.
“Yea the 10% raise looked good at first, but it was inclusive of our annual raise. It was essentially our annual 5% with a tacked on 5%. It would be like the government giving us a stimulus check and saying oh yeah that's your income tax refund too so don't expect anything further. But they also reset everyone's trip increase So if you were scheduled to get a trip in January, it was pushed back 4 months, they took away $.50 an hour from everyone that wasn’t maxed out.” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“With the new standards I was knocked out of running for my level 3 by another year. You are required 4 years now to become level 3, however you are supposed to be level 3 to train new employees, but we are so short staffed they have 1's and 2's training them and just having the engineers sign off on the training, but we aren’t qualified to be paid for it, right?” Aerojet, -Camden Employee
“I think the 10% raise was to "show they care" now that the union is in talks. They also told the outright Lie that our annual merit raise would be in addition to our 10% cost of living raise. A Lie, I'm pretty Good at math. We only received a flat 10% increase. So, what happened to our annual merit raise. I usually receive a 5% raise every year anyway.” Aerojet, -Camden Employee
“Well, I'm not happy because I have to wait till march to get my promotion and the trip raise was taken away and we don't get the PTO up front like we used to. Now we have to get it every two weeks being in the hole now because of the ice storm the raise really didn't add up to a raise.”-Aerojet, Camden Employee.
“Since L3 has taken over so far, they have shown that the safety of the workers, does not matter, they care about the schedule. Especially when the snow and ice happened, they kept business open and made us use our PTO risking people’s lives to try to make it in to work. The 10% raise isn't a raise to begin with, and for all the hard work and dangerous things we deal with….” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
“With the benefits package becoming more expensive, I am working overtime every week to offset the cost of it, I have a family to take care of and these changes have pretty much forced me to live at Aerojet.”-Aerojet, Camden Employee
“They even took away our Christmas bonus that we’ve been getting forever, L3 has no respect for us here in Camden. We are obviously just cheap labor, and they don’t even care that they are literally financially ruining some of us.” -Aerojet, Camden Employee
Large Megacorporation's like L3Harris do not make decisions based on what is right or what is good for the communities in which they operate. Every decision is made from a well-oiled machine, separated just like your large factory facility and designed for maximum output and efficiency. There is an Executive Board, and more committees than we'd like to name. These committees analyze certain aspects of the business using pure raw data and giving recommendations of ideas on how to save money, cut costs, increase production, boost sales, etc... A committee decided that they could save a lot of money and manipulate their profit increases for investors and shareholder, at the expense of their employees benefit packages.
We decided to do a quick cost analysis of the new L3Harris implemented wage and benefit package and we found that most workers did not receive a real increase, and most actually lost thousands of dollars. This figure does not include the huge deductible now applied to prescription drugs. Most employees would never have met a $4,000 to $6,000 deductible, however; that deductible must now be met for the insurance to pay a dime towards your prescription drugs. That is a lot of money not factored into the following.
If you or friends, family neighbors, work at Aerojet in Camden, AR, and have not signed an A-Card, show them this.
Click the link to sign an Authorization Card (Camden Aerojet Employees Only)
We must have a majority signed by L3/Aerojet employees in Camden, to help set things right. These workers were robbed blind by a global megacorporation that does not care about the workers or the local Aerojet management team. They did this to the Supervisors and the workers alike. These people went from Aerojet workers to nothing more than corporate assets with the stroke of a pen.