Nearly 300 employees at a Troy plant are currently locked out. Union members have been outside protesting, saying they want to go back to work.
According to the United Auto Workers, this started on Saturday when members overwhelmingly voted against Collins Aerospace’s last offer in the negotiation process. The lockout then started Monday at midnight, sending many of the employees to the picket lines.
“I’ve been working at UTC for 25 years. We have negotiated a lot of contracts. This contract right here, we had one chance and they’re going to lock us out. We are not on strike, we are locked out of the plant,” said Collins Aerospace Worker Clarence Jackson.
UAW Local 128 President, Joe Konicki, said, “Huge surprise. I mean we’re labor, we’re their labor and we want to come back to work.”
In a statement Collins Aerospace said the company is trying to reach an agreement that recognizes and rewards employee’s contributions while remaining competitive. Workers like Jackson said they got a very different message.
“They said in the blink of an eye, they can replace us. They have what they call a replacement crew as in our supervisors. We appreciate our supervisors, but they can’t do our job and we can’t do their job,” Jackson said.
Union members said they are willing to work while a contract is negotiated but the company won’t let them in. Of the nearly 300 employees, some have worked here multiple decades. And, during the lockdown from the pandemic they were also deemed essential workers. Right now, there is plenty of frustration from those on the picket line.
“We are machinists. We have a problem hiring great machinists right now. Why? Because they are adjusting our pay. They are taking our retirement away,” Jackson said.
Collins Aerospace issued the following statement, “Collins Aerospace is prepared to continue negotiating in good faith with UAW Local 128 and seeks to reach an agreement that recognizes and rewards our employees’ contributions while allowing us to remain competitive.”
Both sides continue to say they are willing to negotiate in good faith, but so far, no progress has been made which leaves the employees on the picket line.
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