Members of the International Association of Machinist who have been on strike against Bombardier Learjet in Wichita since October 8 voted Saturday to end their walkout and accept a tentative contract worked out between the union and the company. Employees returned to work November 12, 2012.
“We are satisfied with the outcome of the vote and are confident in moving forward and continuing to work with all of our employees,” said Ralph Acs, Vice President and General Manager, Bombardier Learjet. “The agreement reflects our mutual commitment to the long-term success of our site. We believe the strength and long-term potential of Learjet in Wichita resides with the products we manufacture and the experienced, dedicated and skilled workforce that contributes to the production and maintenance of world-class aircraft.”
In a news release, the union said that the new five-year deal "is an improvement" over the previous proposal the membership rejected. “The IAM wants to thank the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services for requesting company and Union negotiators meet with Federal Mediator John Doern,” said IAM Spokesman Bob Wood. “Mr. Doern was instrumental in bringing the sides to an agreement.”
Health care was the primary issue that caused the strike, and was therefore the primary focus of the mediation. “The main improvements to the company proposal were related to health care,” said Wood. “The employee share of premium, which is taken as a bi-weekly payroll reduction, was reduced from 30% to 20% of the total premium. In addition the company has proposed an extra 5% savings for employees who participate in the wellness program. This brings the employee share of premiums down to 15% for those employees who participate in the wellness program. With these improvements employee’s with single coverage will see a $700 per year reduction in health insurance payroll deductions, and employees with family coverage will see a $2,300 annual savings compared to the company’s pre-strike offer."