Strike ends at Eaton-Cobham; 5-year contract approved

The strike at Eaton Corporation-Cobham Mission Systems in Davenport is over.

Company and union officials both confirmed late Tuesday, March 22, that union workers with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace (IAM) Locals 388 and 1191 voted to approve a new five-year work contract, ending a 33-day strike.

“We are proud of our members for standing strong and fighting for a contract to improve their lives,” said DeLane Adams, assistant communications director for IAM, in a news release. “Our members build world-class products at Eaton Mission Systems. They look forward to getting back to work beginning tomorrow. We want to thank the Quad Cities community for their commitment and support during this process.”

The new contract for more than 400 union members includes improved wages “and other items that will positively affect our members, their families and the community,” according to a statement from the union.

Union officials would not give further details on the approved contract.

John Herrig, IAM District 6 union business representative, told the QCBJ on Wednesday he believes the union will issue another statement on the contract, but could not release additional information.

“We are pleased to have reached a mutually satisfactory agreement and look forward to having the employees who were on strike return to work to continue serving our customers and our community,” said Katie Kennedy, senior manager of communications and marketing communications for Eaton-Cobham, in a statement.

During the month-long strike, tensions were on the rise between the striking union members and the company. As of March 15, the Davenport company had hired 20 permanent replacement workers and 55 union members had returned to work, according to Ms. Kennedy,

Company officials said it was planning to hire more workers to replace striking union members. Last week, Eaton placed two large banners in front of the company plant. The banners stated “Launch your new career” and listed several jobs available at Eaton. Those jobs, which pay up to $36 an hour, included tool and die makers, machinists, millwrights and more.

As for the report of 55 union members returning to work, Mr. Herrig said last week: “Simply not true.” 

More than 400 IAM workers went on strike at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Feb. 18, after rejecting the initial proposed three-year pact with Eaton-Cobham. A second contract offer was rejected by union members on Friday, March 4.

In a news release issued after the first vote, 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 a total workforce of about 950 people in the Quad Cities.

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