Bombardier executives continue to mull over new information gleaned last Thursday during a “fact finding” meeting with negotiators for workers on strike since October 2 from the company’s Learjet plant in Wichita.
A company spokesman here in Orlando said Bombardier collected “a lot of information we weren’t aware of” but that he declined to identify. He characterized the meeting as positive and professional, however.
The strike, which involves about 1,100 engineers and mechanics, hasn’t yet affected new aircraft deliveries or spares availability, according to the spokesman. Nevertheless, the sides still haven’t started formal negotiations and the workers collected their last paychecks last Thursday. They begin receiving $150 a week from a strike fund as the walkout enters its third week.
The workers rejected the company’s offer for a 4-percent raise in the first year of the contract and 3 percent in each of the two following years even though their own negotiating committee recommended they approve it. They claim that the proposed wage increases would not have even covered higher health insurance costs. The workers accepted wage freezes and other concessions about three years ago after Bombardier threatened to close plants.