By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
A food drive is under way for employees of Vance Air Force Base contractor Project Resources Inc./Del-Jen Inc., who are struggling after drastic cuts to their paychecks following a change in their health insurance on Jan. 1. Employees have said they have received paychecks as low as $0.
“Several Enid base civilian employees are struggling with being able to provide for their families,” said Tammy Wilson, founder of I Love Enid. “They are in need of food — particularly milk, bread and meat.”
Wilson said the food drive started after she had a message from one of the union employees about the severity of hardship the workers are facing. Wilson said the caller told her about 130 employees are affected, and about 20 to 30 of them are really in need.
“We’ve got people who are in need, and I want to fix it,” Wilson said.
I Love Enid has joined forces with Garfield Masonic Lodge 501, Main Street Enid, Route 60 Sentinel, Enid Buzz, KOFM/KGWA and KNID to host a food drive for the next three weeks.
“Donations of gift cards to local grocers and restaurants or other food items would help these families immensely,” Wilson said.
Gift cards and food can be dropped off at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 898, 1901 N. Washington, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Lola’s Boutique, 224 W. Randolph, has offered to be a drop site as well, Wilson said.
Cash donations may be sent to Garfield Masonic Lodge 501, P.O. Box 1501, Enid, OK 73702, Attn: Worker Relief or made online at www.route60sentinel.com.
The drive will culminate with a drop day 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 9 at the downtown breezeway in the 200 block of West Randolph, with drawings for prizes and live music offered.
Wilson said union members will handle the distribution of food items and gift cards.
She said the food drive, launched Monday, still is evolving.
“We’ll probably work in conjunction with Loaves and Fishes, too, but I don’t know yet how that’s going to work,” she said.
Last June, a new three-year collective bargaining agreement was approved by members of IAMAW Local Lodge 898. Under the new agreement, each company covered by the contract has the same health, dental and vision insurance, provided by IMA Benefit Trust.
In the past, each company’s employees were insured by a different carrier. Health insurance previously was a pre-tax benefit, but workers now are being taxed on their health insurance — at least by PRI/DJI. The rest of the companies involved apparently handled the switch with little or no problems.
For information on the food drive, contact Wilson at (580) 402-6732 or firstname.lastname@example.org.