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Bombardier Machinists Union Strike Enters Fourth Week

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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Monday, October 29, 2012

The Bombardier Learjet machinists union strike enters its fourth week with little progress made toward getting picketers back to work.

"We were out three weeks last time in 2006 before they met up so it's not a complete shock," 12-year veteran employee and union member Cindy Holt said. "But, I had hoped the company would have gotten with the union by now."

Instead, as of now, both sides are standing their ground.

"The union leadership does continue to say their phones are on and they are willing to talk. But I keep hearing from the union leadership that no one is calling," Holt said.

In the meantime, $350 a week in strike pay from the union kicks in Wednesday for workers.

"That will help a lot of people stay out here longer," Holt said.

She says the help is much needed given this strike has now surpassed the length of the three-week strike in 2006.

"We are like family in there so this is really disheartening the way this is going," Holt said.

What is going, and going strong, is the rumor mill.

"We've been told how we are getting a letter in the mail that says if we don't go back to work by a certain date, they are going to lock us out," Holt said.

"Every day I hear a new rumor," union member Opal Barnes said.

Bombardier Learjet spokeswoman Peggy Gross says rumors of a letter circulating or that the company has not tried to reach out to the union are false.

"We've tried to dispel rumors by just stating the facts," Gross said.

She says the rumors are preventing progress.

"There are a lot of rumors out there about the medical plans and that's what's holding the union back from coming to the table," Gross said.

She says no date is set up for negotiations to resume. But she knows of at least one thing both sides can agree on right now.

"We want our employees to get back to work," Gross said. "Strike is not good for anybody."

That includes Cindy Holt who says she'd like to see both sides work together to dispel the rumor a strike will continue through January 1, 2013.

"Ultimately the biggest goal is you want to go back to work," Holt said.


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