Current International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 709 Vice President Perry Gulledge overwhelmingly won in the race for president with 639 votes, more than twice the total of runner-up Johnny P. Stevens, who had 294 votes. Cornell “Slim” Stevens had 251 votes, while incumbent President Denise Rakestraw finished last in the four-person field with 210 votes.
Gulledge, 50, said his primary focus will be representing the union in negotiations for its contract with Lockheed, which expires in March 2014. His three-year term starts Jan. 6.
“I am honored to be able to represent the most highly skilled workforce in the world,” Gulledge, 50, said Thursday.
Gulledge started with Lockheed in 1984, but went on leave from the company three years ago when he was elected vice president. He said top union officers become full-time employees of IAM.
Gulledge, a resident of the New Hope community in Paulding County, said he supported the decision by the union’s leadership committee to recommend rejecting Lockheed’s proposed contract offer and strike during 2011 negotiations. Union members ended up rejecting the recommendation and approved management’s offer with 57 percent of the vote.
Rakestraw said she didn’t know if the contract vote had an impact on the election.
“My thought would be no,” she said.
Rakestraw didn’t know of any major issues that could have impacted the race.
“I’m not sure what happened,” she said. “Everybody gets the right to vote.”
The change in union leadership comes at a time of transition for Lockheed. The company announced earlier this week that it was moving 560 jobs, most of its F-22 operations, from Marietta to Fort Worth, Texas. Though those are non-union positions, more Lockheed jobs could be in jeopardy if Congress and President Barack Obama fail to reach an agreement on automatic across the board sequestration cuts at the end of the year that are part of the current “fiscal cliff” negotiations.
IAM Local 709, in conjunction with the Georgia State AFL-CIO, will host a town hall meeting with U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta) on the impact of the defense cuts at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Union Hall, 1032 South Marietta Parkway.
In a statement, Shan Cooper, Lockheed vice president and general manager of the Marietta site, said, “We value our partnership with the outgoing IAM Local Lodge 709 leadership team, and look forward to working with the newly elected officials as we tackle the challenges and opportunities of the new year together.”
About 3,300 of Lockheed’s 6,900 Marietta employees are IAM members. In the race to replace Gulledge as vice president, Mike Owens won with 597 votes. Steve Cottrell finished second with 321 votes, Chandra K. Williams was third with 274 votes, Belva Leigh Palmer finished fourth with 145 votes and Wanda Walker was fifth with 42 votes.
Sandy Ledinsky won the position of secretary-treasurer with 656 votes, defeating incumbent Susan Holmes, who had 616 votes. Scott Martin finished third with 120 votes.