Machinists at Hytek Finishes sanction strike
The strike sanction measure was approved with a 99-percent “yes” vote, the union said.
The vote does not mean a strike is imminent. However, it does signal to Hytek executives that their union workforce is willing to support a labor action, should talks with management fail to result in an acceptable contract.
Negotiations are set to resume in early January.
The workers at Hytek specialize in doing various types of metal finishing and coating for aerospace manufacturers, including Boeing, Lockheed and Bell Helicopters.
The union has been in talks with Hytek management in Kent about a contract for the company’s 170 workers since the fall. The workers voted to join Machinists Union District Lodge 751 in August.
High-cost health care, below-market pay and dissatisfaction with the company’s process for promotions and pay upgrades were the biggest issues union members had going in to the talks, and so far “negotiations with Hytek have not produced adequate attention to their concerns” said Kevin Cummings, a Grand Lodge representative for the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers.
“These workers perform a highly skilled and critical function in a toxic and carcinogenic atmosphere, and deserve better respect and compensation than they are getting,” he said.
Hytek is a subsidiary of Bellevue-based Esterline Corp., which released its fourth quarter and year-end financial results on Dec. 8. At the time, Chief Executive Brad Lawrence said that “fiscal 2011 was one of the strongest years in our history” and he added that “we expect to grow about 20 percent in fiscal 2012,” in large part because of Boeing’s plans to increase production rates for its 737 models.
“We aren’t asking for the moon,” said Cummings, “just a fair contract that recognizes the sacrifices of the workers. Let’s hope Hytek managers come to their senses and quit talking about how much they care, and start acting like they care.”
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents nearly 31,000 working men and women at 45 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. This month, District 751 members used collective bargaining to reach an agreement that ensures Boeing’s new 737 MAX will be built in Puget Sound.
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