TUCSON, Ariz.--- Machinist Union members at Raytheon Missile Co. voted overwhelmingly Sunday to reject a proposed new contract and go on strike.
Ninety-five percent of the 1,420 union members gathered at the Tucson Convention Center voted against the five-year proposal and 95 percent voted to strike, according to Steve Cooper, directing business representative for Machinists Local 933, which represents the missile workers.
"A fair settlement was in easy reach, but Raytheon management failed to address the members' needs in many key areas, including wages, COLA, pensions and health care,'' Cooper said. "Raytheon management has forced the shut-down of its most profitable, productive facility. We won't be building missiles here until the company decides to deal fairly with its workers.''
Raytheon is the nations' third largest aerospace defense company, but wages at the Tucson plant, the company's primary missile facility, are more than 30 percent below the industry average, Cooper pointed out. "The University of Arizona just released a study showing Tucson is used by companies as a low-wage production area, even though the cost of living in Tucson equals the national average,'' Cooper said. "We say, those days are over. Tucson workers deserve the same opportunities for good jobs, with good wages and benefits that other American workers enjoy. That's what this fight is about,'' Cooper said.
Unless a new round of bargaining produces an acceptable contract, Local 933 could strike as early as November 2.