Illinois aerospace workers strike rally draws solidarity

By Dan Fein
July 24, 2023

BEDFORD PARK, Ill. — Four days after voting down Northstar Aerospace bosses’ “best, last and final offer,” 123 International Union of Electrical Workers/CWA Local 14430 members went on strike at midnight June 5. They organized a picket line rally here July 10.

Some 75 union members and a handful of supporters participated. The company makes transmission parts for Apache and Chinook military helicopters. The strike is solid, no one has crossed the picket line and no production is going on.

“We last went on strike in 2000-2001 and it lasted 11 months. The company had few orders at that time,” Kevin Bowen, assistant chief steward with 43 years at the plant, told the Militant. “Now, with no production and many government contracts, the company is losing millions of dollars.”

“We’ll stay out as long as it takes. We won’t go back until we get what we want,” he said.

Anthony Egizio, a member of the union negotiating committee, said, “We need higher wages to keep up with inflation. The company wants to be able to change our health insurance on a moments notice. Our position is that if they want to push health insurance premiums up by more than 4%, we need to negotiate it. And the company is proposing a stricter attendance policy.”

Speaking at the rally along with Egizio were Robert Reiter, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, and U.S. Congressman Sean Casten.

In late June a company lawyer told the union you’ll be out on the street until Christmas. The next day strikers dressed up as Santa Claus, played jingle bells over their sound system and set up an inflatable Christmas tree.

Join the 24/7 picket line at 6006 W. 73rd Street here.