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Archive for Sunday, September 16, 2007

Machinists OK new Cessna contract to avoid strike

September 16, 2007

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— Machinists union members at Cessna Aircraft voted Saturday to accept the company's contract offer.

Sixty-three percent of the members of Local Lodge 774 voted in favor of the new three-year contract, which takes effect Monday. The union represents about 5,400 hourly workers at Cessna.

Machinists union District 70 president Steve Rooney said he was pleased with the large turnout, but declined to say how many voted. Union negotiators unanimously recommended ratification.

Cindy Smith and Gina Schwartz work together at Cessna's Pawnee facility. Both said the company could have offered more. But they worry about what they would lose in a strike.

"It's not great," Smith said of the offer. But "we all have families to support. It's not worth it to go out on strike."

Schwartz said she was pleased to keep a choice of health care plans. Health insurance had been a top issue in the talks.

Earlier in the week, Cessna proposed only one health care plan, an unpopular Definity Health program.

Workers said they would strike over it.

The new contract includes wage increases of 5 percent, 4 percent and 4 percent, a $3,000 ratification bonus, a choice of three health-care plans, along with equal premiums for each plan, and elimination of employees' right to vote before the company can transition to an alternate work schedule.

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