By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
The machinists union representing about 825 workers at the Bombardier Learjet plant in Wichita, Kan., rejected the company's latest contract offer over the weekend, and on Monday, workers went on strike. The company said it has contingency plans that will enable it to continue to build, deliver and service aircraft during the strike with minimal disruption. Union officials told Bloomberg News the main points of contention were a proposed hike in health-care costs, and a proposed five-year term for the contract, which they said was too long.
Bombardier spokeswoman Peggy Gross told Reuters the company hopes to resume negotiations soon. "The company put forth what it believes is a fair proposal for the long-term success of the company and for our employees," she said. Bob Wood, a spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said the main issue was health care. "Whenever they are ready to put those HMOs back on the table, we're certainly ready to negotiate, but not until then," he said.