The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 67/No. 35           October 13, 2003  
Machinists at Hexcel end contract strike
KENT, Washington—By a vote of 172-34, members of International Association of Machinists (IAM) Local 1103 rejected Hexcel’s second contract proposal August 21 and went on strike.

“They don’t respect us,” said picket captain Ron Holmquist, who has worked at Hexcel for 25 years, much of it in the autoclave department. “They threw the contract on the table and said, ‘vote for it.’”

At the time of the Militant’s publication, the Machinists had returned to work. Details of the settlement were not available.

IAM Local 1103 members had been working without a contract since the last agreement expired May 31.

The local threw up picket lines at all the entrances to the plant, as well as a nearby motel where the company is recruiting scabs. Some members crossed the picket lines.

Hexcel Structures is an aerospace composites company, supplying parts to Boeing and other firms. The strike took place in the context of layoffs of more than 30,000 Boeing workers in the last few years, and of many other workers at Boeing suppliers.

Strikers reported the company’s proposed economic package included a $750 bonus the first year, a 2 percent increase the second year, and a 2 percent bonus the third year. Health care was a major sticking point for the workers—the company is demanding takebacks in medical and dental benefits.

Other attacks on the union include a provision to recall laid-off workers at lower pay and to have recall rights lowered from five years to one. A few years ago the work force was 1,100.

“If we were to buy this contract, it would severely weaken the union,” said Holmquist.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home