More than 2,400 Raytheon
missile and defense workers are getting on-the-clock
training on the
IBEW’s Code of
, thanks to a years-long effort by the leaders of Waltham, Mass., Local 1505 and
representatives from the
“This is the biggest Code of Excellence implementation in the Manufacturing branch,” said Director of Manufacturing Brian Lamm, explaining that rank-and-file workers and managers alike will receive code training over the coming year. “The contract ensures 100% participation. It’s huge for us.”
Launched by International President Edwin D. Hill in 2007, the Code of Excellence was designed to ensure the highest standards in every IBEW workplace. Where the code is formally embraced, leaders and members are expected to commit to demonstrating the union’s core values in everything they do: safety, professionalism, accountability, relationships and quality.
“It’s taken us a long time to get here,” Lamm said of efforts to bring the Code of Excellence to this Raytheon facility, where workers manufacture such things as radar systems and their components, missile launch systems, and the unarmed missiles for them. (Explosive ordnance for these is installed later at another location.)
Over those years, representatives from the Second District, whose purview includes Massachusetts, negotiated alongside leaders from Local 1505 to begin implementing the Code of Excellence, with Raytheon finally agreeing to allow classes to begin in 2021.
“Code training was going to be voluntary at first, but then we negotiated to make it mandatory,” said Second District International Representative John Horak, who services Local 1505.
One of the IBEW’s biggest remaining implementation hurdles was convincing Raytheon that it would be worth its while to allow the hourlong Code of Excellence classes to be conducted on company time.
“One hour per employee is not a small expense” when multiplied by 2,400 employees, noted Lamm.
The company recently agreed to budget for code classes to be held as part of an employee’s regular workday, said Local 1505 Business Manager Michael Zagami, and this iteration of Code of Excellence training is now officially underway.
“There are so many departments and a lot of different skill sets,” Zagami said. “It’s going to be a challenge for us, but the company is committed, and we’re willing to do what it takes.” He added that Local 1505 was the first IBEW local to negotiate a contract with Raytheon in the late 1940s.
“We have a commitment from Raytheon to give every employee this training,” Horak stressed. “It’s mandatory for all new employees, too — a condition of their employment.”
Members of the IBEW’s Education Department, led by International Representative Craig Duffy, have been conducting train-the-trainer sessions for a group of 10 to 12 chief stewards and 30 to 40 department stewards, with continuing support provided by the department during this first year. “The local is handpicking the core group of trainers, and we’re doing meetings of 20 or so workers at a time,” Horak said.
Lamm credited Zagami for assembling the team that made it possible. “They even got Raytheon to commit to flying a Code of Excellence flag outside its entrance,” he said.
“The local’s been all-in, too,” Horak added, with Zagami meeting regularly with Raytheon’s labor relations team. “Everyone knows that this is not something we can do a couple of times. There’s no second chance with this.”
Horak said the training agreement also should help other businesses take notice of the IBEW’s commitment to such things as quality, professionalism and safety, helping the union further expand its reputation for being the first choice for the job.
“We’re talking about a company that’s a huge defense contractor. It’s the largest Raytheon office in the Northeast,” Horak said. “We’re helping them see how the Code of Excellence truly fits their culture.”