By Kim Hynes
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
9:05 PM CDT, October 6, 2012
The last time Bombardier employees went on strike was in 2006. The strike lasted a couple of weeks.
The votes have been counted and Bombardier Learjet Machinists will hit the picket line Monday morning at 12:01.
Machinists rejected the company's 5-year contract proposal. 79% of workers were in favor of a strike.
The union says there are two points of contention in the contract. First, it says Bombardier wants to eliminate two of the HMO's 80% of members are using. Under one of the HMO's, name brand prescriptions currently cost $30 but the new plan would increase the cost to $80.
Raises are the other issue. The union says Bombardier is not offering a raise in the first year of the five year contract. A 1% raise is included each year after.
According to the union, the company says the raises are based on the economy and cites Hawker Beechcraft as an example of the aviation market. But the union says in 2006, employees gave up a bunch of things to help out during a rough time. The union says when things turned around, the company didn't reciprocate.
Bombardier released this statement about the recommendation to strike.
Bombardier Learjet is disappointed in the union negotiating committee's
recommendation. The company put forward a fair and reasonable proposal for
the employees while ensuring the long-term potential and success of
Learjet. We will wait to hear the results of the vote on Saturday.
With regards to "what are the main issues for the union's recommendation":
It is our understanding that the Union's main issue with the contract is
regarding the Medical Insurance plan. This is the same plan that currently
exists for our professional workforce, which the company feels is fair and
reasonable. In order to meet our business objectives, ensure our aircraft
development programs stay on track and maintain employment levels, we now
see the need to lower labor costs through such initiatives to ensure future
We are hoping that the employees will accept our contract proposal. We
believe the strength and long-term potential of Learjet in Wichita resides
with the products we manufacture and the experienced, dedicated and skilled
workforce that contributes to the production of world-class aircraft.
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