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Union members vote down second contract, Eaton to hire replacements

The second contract was rejected by 97% of union members.
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 5:32 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 5, 2022 at 10:27 PM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Eaton union members with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local 388 and Local Lodge 1191 have voted down a second contract with Eaton on Friday with a 97% vote. Union representative John Herrig says it was a more than 2-hour meeting and is only a slight difference from the first vote with 98% rejection just two weeks earlier. Herrig said, “if Eaton’s belief was that support within the two bargaining units is waning after two weeks on the strike line, this vote outcome should answer that question.”

Eaton’s communication manager Katie Kennedy says they are now looking at “taking the necessary steps to hire permanent replacement workers to ensure we can continue to fulfill our customer commitments. It’s not a decision we make lightly, and our goal remains to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with the Union” since it takes time to train new hires and bring them up to date on the “complexity” of their products.

Herrig says it’s a “standard strike breaking tactic” to try to bribe their union members to come back to work.

The second presented contract changed from a 3-year agreement to five years, which Herrig says wasn’t an issue in negotiations, and did not address any other issues surrounding healthcare, retirement, and wages. “It is questionable that this proposal was any different than the last proposal and our membership saw right through that,” said Jeremy Vercautren Local 388 committee member.

Negotiations are not to resume until March 14th, according to Herrig, who says Eaton representatives will not be available until then.

“As we’ve said before, we were very surprised that some of our employees decided to strike, especially since Eaton and the Union were so close to a deal at the time the Union chose to strike. The parties reached tentative agreements to provide more vacation, greater scheduling certainty and flexibility, additional leave, and an agreement on retirement and health care plans. While the parties did not reach an agreement on wages, the parties were only marginally apart at the time the Union went on strike,” said Kennedy.

Joe Allen, President Lodge 388 said, “Our members stand in solidarity, just as important are those members in the bargaining unit that are not dues-paying Union members that are standing with us shoulder-to-shoulder on the line in solidarity. That’s awesome, and we have the utmost respect and appreciation for their support in our collective struggle.”

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