Davenport defense contractor to bring in replacements as talks break down in labor strike | Business & Economy

Strikers outside Eaton-Cobham Mission Systems displayed handmade placards on Monday.

Tom Lowy

A Davenport aerospace defense contractor plans to hire replacements for the strikers as contract talks break down.

Representatives of the striking International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 388 said talks with Davenport’s Eaton-Cobham Mission Systems have stalled on Thursday.

“The union and Eaton representatives met Tuesday and Wednesday to try to resolve the strike at the Davenport Mission Systems Division,” said John Herrig, International Association of Machinists’ District 6 sales representative and aerospace workers. “Although several passes were made each day and the parties discussed all the sticking points that culminated in this strike, the parties were unable to reach an agreement in principle.”

Herrig said the company’s latest proposals have changed their structure somewhat – from a three-year deal to a five-year deal – while the rest of the proposed terms remain largely unchanged.

The union argues that Eaton-Cobham’s proposed wage increases “are overshadowed by the cost of living and that the health care and retirement benefits are unacceptable to members,” Herrig said.

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In a statement on Thursday, Eaton Aerospace’s senior director of communications and marketing, Katie Kennedy, said the company “has offered dates for further negotiations.”

Kennedy also confirmed Eaton-Cobham’s plans to hire replacements for the strikers.

“Given the complexity of our products and the time it takes to train new hires, we will begin to take the necessary steps to hire permanent replacements to ensure that we can continue to meet our commitments to our customers” , Kennedy wrote in an email. “This is not a decision we take lightly, and our goal remains to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with the Union.”

Herrig said he plans to spend part of Thursday evening talking to Local 388 members on the picket line.

More than 400 Eaton-Cobham union employees represented by IAMAW Local Lodge 388 and Machinists Union Local Lodge 1191 hit the picket line just after midnight on Friday February 18 after more than 98% of the members rejected a proposed three-year contract from the company. .

Eaton, a multinational energy management company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, announced on June 1 that it had completed its purchase of Cobham Mission Systems, described as a leading manufacturer of in-flight refueling , life support, fuel inerting, space propulsion and missile actuation systems, primarily for defense markets. Cobham employs around 2,000 people and has manufacturing facilities in the US and UK.

Eaton bought Cobham for $2.83 billion, including $130 million in tax benefits.

According to the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, the Eaton-Cobham plant employs 950 people, not all of whom are unionized.

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