P&W Machinists Threaten Strike
VERNON, Conn. (AP) _ Machinist union leaders at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Friday called for a strike by 14,300 hourly production and maintenance workers after union negotiators rejected the company’s final offer for a three-year contract.
The union broke off negotiations within hours of their resumption Friday following a one-day Thanksgiving recess. The current three-year agreement expires on Sunday.
The jet engine manufacturer offered a $300 one-time bonus to each bargaining unit employee and lump-sum payments equal to 3.5 percent of wages in each of the contract’s first two years.
In the third year, the company proposed a general hourly wage increase ranging from 17 cents to 62 cents. Hourly pay for bargaining unit employees averages $11.69.
In addition, there were improvements in benefit, cost of living and savings plans, but union officials said economic and job security issues blocked an accord.
″Our position is no,″ said Rudy Buck, president of District 91 of the International Association of Machinists representing workers at locals in four plants. ″We’re at an impasse.
Buck said 70 percent of Pratt & Whitney’s 14,300 hourly production and maintenance workers are union members eligible to vote Sunday afternoon.
″I think this contract is a fair one - fair to employees and fair to the company,″ Pratt & Whitney chief negotiator J. Thomas Bouchard said in a statement. ″It provides employees with first-rate earnings and benefits and it will make us more competitive in the marketplace.″
The union said job security issues posed the biggest problem. Buck criticized the company for failing to give existing employees preference for new jobs, for offering too little for job retraining, and for giving no seniority to workers who are recalled after two years layoff.