June 15, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Spokane, Wash – Union workers at the Triumph Composite Systems aircraft-parts plant outside Spokane rallied June 10 to mark the second month of the work stoppage there.
The about 400 union workers, members of the International Association of Machinists, were locked out May 10 after they voted to strike. They had rejected the company’s “final” offer because it preserved a two-tier wage and pension system from their 2013 contract. Triumph, a major supplier of parts to Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier, has been busing in strikebreakers, and says union jobs in the plant pay 15-20% more than similar work in the region. The Machinists have filed multiple unfair-labor-practice complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the company of “direct dealing, intimidation and coercion, failing to provide information and bad-faith bargaining.” “Getting back pensions is the number one issue,” assembler Ryan Van Valkinburgh, 38, told the socialist newspaper The Militant. “We also don’t want the two-tier wages and the health care costs with no limit. And we definitely don’t want our jobs going to Mexico.” Talks will resume this week, with a federal mediator. Read more