Davenport military contractor to hire contract employees to replace striking machinists

A representative from Eaton-Cobham Mission Systems confirmed Monday the company was training contract employees to offset the loss of striking members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 388 and Local 1191.

The strike against the Davenport military contractor reached its 18th day Monday.

“We have started training contract employees to help support the Davenport employees who have been going above and beyond to ensure we continue to operate safely and deliver quality product to meet our customer commitments,” Katie Kennedy, Eaton Aerospace senior manager of global communications and marketing, responded in an email.

The company was also “taking the necessary steps to hire permanent replacement workers to ensure we can continue to fulfill our customer commitments,” Kennedy wrote. “It’s not a decision we make lightly, and our goal remains to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with the union.”

John Herrig, directing business representative for District 6 of the IAMAW, said the union had “no comment” on Eaton’s decision to train contract workers.

Herrig said the union and Eaton had reached an agreement on meeting on March 15, but “now it appears the company is unwilling to meet face-to-face until March 22.”

Last Friday, 97% of the members Machinists Local 388 and Local 1191 voted against the company’s latest offer. That vote came just one day after a representative from Eaton Aerospace said replacement workers will be hired at the Davenport facility.

More than 400 Eaton-Cobham union employees represented by IAMAW Local 388 and Machinist Union Local 1191 hit the picket line just after midnight on Friday, Feb. 18 after more than 98% of the membership voted down a proposed three-year contract from the company.

Eaton, a multinational power management company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, announced June 1 it had completed its purchase of Cobham Mission Systems, described as a leading manufacturer of air-to-air refueling, life-support, fuel inerting, space propulsion and missile actuation systems, primarily for defense markets. Cobham has a workforce of approximately 2,000 people and manufacturing facilities in the United States and United Kingdom.

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