Letter Posted On Company Website Confirms Move
The UAW Local 218 strike against
Bell Helicopter is entering its 4th week, and with both sides
apparently far apart, the company started Monday hiring replacement
workers to keep its production lines moving.
In a letter on the company website, Bell Helicopter CEO David
Millman tells employees that negotiating teams are still working to
reach agreement, but that the company was instituting its "Strike
Contingency Plan" in an effort to continue operations.
In the letter, Millman writes: "(W)e have a business to run and
we're doing that by implementing and executing our strike
contingency plans to continue to meet our customer requirements.
I'm proud to say that the 1,000 non-covered and covered Bell
employees who are filling in are doing a great job.
Since the strike we have reduced delinquencies on past due
military products by five percent. We have made improvements in all
manufacturing areas and are implementing many actions our employees
have previously suggested with great results. We have had zero
recordable injuries and we continue to deliver critical components
and aircraft on-time to our customers - keeping our promises!
We want a contract that benefits everyone and we believe the
company's last, best, and final offer provided that. When our
employees do return they will return to a new Bell - more
efficient, more competitive and more accountable. This is the only
way to secure all our futures.
Unfortunately I don't know when the strike will end, so
beginning July 6 we will begin to bring in temporary replacement
workers to help us fill the void of our striking workforce. This
was not an easy decision, but it is necessary. As I've said before,
we must do whatever it takes to meet our customer requirements,
especially to support our warfighters, and right now I have to
exercise this option to make sure we deliver on our promises."
A letter from UAW 218 Bargaining
Executive Tom Wells, posted in the Union's website, paints a
different picture. "As we are about to enter the fourth week of our
strike against Bell Helicopter, I am sitting in my office reading
the latest e-mails the membership has sent me. Most are supportive.
I know some of the membership is worried. I understand these are
trying times for all of us. Take heart. The membership stands
strong. If you are having doubts or concerns come down to the Union
Hall and talk to your union brothers and sisters.
The Company is claiming that they are doing fine without us
which is (deleted). I’ve got reports on how chaotic it is in
the facilities…scrapped parts…wrecked
machines…long working hours for supervisors AND loss of
income from sales.
I saw Bell’s full page ad in the Sunday Star Telegram and
I do echo the Company’s praise for our military. At least we
agree on that point. I apologize to them for being in the middle of
Bell’s stubborn example of negotiation.
Again I say to Bell, we are available to bargain. I ask the
membership to stay the course."