Southern States Millwrights Local 1192 took the lead in building the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Brookley, Alabama, the company’s first production site in the United States. This game-changing facility, which houses the final assembly for the A320 family of jetliners, began aircraft assembly in July 2015, with first deliveries scheduled for 2016 to North American customers. The $600 million, 53-acre facility near Mobile launches Airbus’ commitment to manufacturing in the U.S. and will employ more than 200 workers, as well as perform some military customer operations.
Originally awarded the open issues matrix contract for the project, Atlas Industrial Contractors of Warren, Michigan started with a small union crew including the Southern Millwrights, working alongside the original non-union contractor at first. Atlas became the prime install contractor on May 19, 2015, when the original contracting firm, which had been using unskilled labor, left the job.
Atlas stepped in and added more Southern Millwrights, union operators, union carpenters, union pipefitters, union ironworkers, and union electricians. These staffing moves created a 100-percent union jobsite. At its peak, the project employed about 100 union professionals.
Atlas Project Superintendent Jess Tipken credited the Southern Millwrights’ work to meet all of the client’s milestone dates with no safety incidents or injuries during the extensive project, and for finishing in time for Airbus’ inauguration of the site this fall. The crew achieved all these successes without going over the time-and-materials budget.
“I was very impressed by the professionalism, dedication, and hard work provided by all your tradesmen,” Tipken said in a letter to the Southern Millwright Regional Council. “They sacrificed time with their families, as well as holidays, to make sure this project was completed successfully and in a timely manner. I have never been more proud to be part of something professionally than I am now.”