Eaton strike continues; company set to ‘take steps’

The strike against Eaton Corporation-Cobham Mission Systems in Davenport continues as the company indicated it may “take steps” to make sure it continues to serve its customers. 

A company representative on Friday told the QCBJ that Eaton-Cobham could soon usher in a new phase  as the strike enters its second week. The official would not elaborate on those possible moves.

We will continue to seek a resolution with the union and have proposed dates to continue bargaining. Meanwhile, we will take steps to ensure we have the capability to continue serving our customers and our community,” according to a statement from Katie Kennedy, senior manager of communications and marketing communications for Eaton-Cobham.

Ms. Kennedy added: “As we’ve said before, we were very surprised that some of our employees decided to strike, especially since Eaton and the union were so close to a deal at the time the union chose to strike. The parties reached tentative agreements to provide more vacation, greater scheduling certainty and flexibility, additional leave, and an agreement on retirement and health care plans. While the parties did not reach an agreement on wages, the parties were only marginally apart at the time the union went on strike.”

Union officials on Friday did not respond to several requests for comment. However, early this week, John Herrig, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace (IAM) District 6 union business representative, told the QCBJ that the company’s statements were misleading, and the union and company were not very close to a new contract.

More than 400 workers from IAM Local 388, Davenport, and IAM Local 1191, based in Moline, are on strike after rejecting a proposed three-year contract with Eaton-Cobham, located at 2734 Hickory Grove Road. The strike officially began at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Feb. 18.

A Feb. 17 union news release said IAM members “voted almost unanimously to strike after management made a contract offer with substandard wages, reduced health care benefits and decreased 401(K) retirement matching contributions.”

Eaton Corporation acquired the former Cobham Mission Systems last year. The company manufactures air-to-air refueling systems, environment systems and actuation, primarily for defense markets, according to its website. 

Eaton-Cobham Mission Systems employs about 950 people in the Quad Cities, but not all of those employees are in the union.

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