Another contract proposal has been overwhelmingly rejected by union members at Eaton Corporation-Cobham Mission Systems in Davenport. The company has said it might bring in replacement workers. New negotiations are stalled for at least a week. Those are the latest developments in the ongoing strike, which now is entering its third week, against Eaton. Members […]
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Another contract proposal has been overwhelmingly rejected by union members at Eaton Corporation-Cobham Mission Systems in Davenport.
The company has said it might bring in replacement workers. New negotiations are stalled for at least a week.
Those are the latest developments in the ongoing strike, which now is entering its third week, against Eaton.
Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace (IAM) Local 388 and Local 1191 voted down the latest contract proposal on Friday, March 4. According to information from the union, 97% of the vote rejected the offer.
“If Eaton’s belief was the support within the two bargaining units is waning after two weeks on the strike line, this vote outcome should answer that question,” John Herrig, IAM District 6 union business representative, said in a news release issued by IAM.
Union officials said the latest company offer changed the structure from a three-year to a five-year agreement. But it did not address some of the top issues concerning union members.
“Once again, this was voted down on the issues of healthcare, retirement and wages,” Jeremy Vercautren, Local 388 committee member, said in the release. “It is questionable that this proposal was any different than the last proposal and our membership saw right through that.”
Mr. Herrig told the QCBJ on Monday that Eaton officials said they will not be available for further negotiations until Tuesday, March 15.
Union members continued to picket Sunday outside Eaton’s plant on Davenport’s Hickory Grove road. About 20 union members held “ON STRIKE” signs. Several union members declined comment when asked about the strike.
“Our members stand in solidarity, just as important are those members in the bargaining unit that are not dues-paying union members that are standing with us shoulder-to-shoulder on the line in solidarity,” Joe Allen, Local 388 president, said in the union’s release.
On Monday, March 7, company officials said they are considering bringing in replacement workers in order to serve their customers.
“We have started training contract employees to help support the Davenport employees who have been going above and beyond to ensure we continue to operate safely and deliver quality product to meet our customer commitments,” said Katie Kennedy, senior manager of communications and marketing for Eaton-Cobham, in a statement.
She added: “Given the complexity of our products and the time it takes to train new hires, we are also taking the necessary steps to hire permanent replacement workers to ensure we can continue to fulfill our customer commitments. It is not a decision we make lightly, and our goal remains to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with the union.”
More than 400 workers from IAM Local 388, Davenport, and IAM Local 1191, based in Moline, went on strike at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Feb. 18, after rejecting the initial proposed three-year contract with Eaton-Cobham.
In a Feb. 17 news release, the union 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, which acquired the former Cobham Mission Systems last year, 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.