Cessna Union Contract Proposal Prompts Talk of Strike

 - September 16, 2010, 11:37 AM

Cessna Aircraft made a new contract proposal on Monday that was immediately rejected by machinist union leadership, with the recommendation that its members follow suit in a vote set for Saturday. The seven-year contract offer by Cessna was described by president, chairman and CEO Jack Pelton as “very fair, given the extraordinary challenges we are facing in our economy and in our industry.” Union District 70 president Steve Rooney disagreed in no uncertain terms. He said rather than asking for a short-term sacrifice to help the company through bad economic times, Cessna was asking for permanent cuts over seven years. Rooney alleges that the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer used the economic downturn as an opportunity “to gut the contract and saddle employees with extreme and punitive measures.” Union members are scheduled to vote on Saturday by simple majority whether to accept or reject the contract. If a majority reject the contract, union members will then be asked to vote a second time on whether to approve a strike, which will require a two-thirds majority. If the membership does not vote to approve a strike, the contract will be accepted by default. If they vote to strike, the work stoppage would begin at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, which could bring the Citation production lines to a standstill.