UPDATE: John J. Higgs, vice president and plant manager, released the following statement Tuesday: “We are pleased to have worked constructively with the Union committee to reach a new agreement. We are committed to our presence here in Northeast Ohio and happy that all of the employees in the Elyria plant are back at work today.”
Original story follows.
ELYRIA — More than 120 unionized employees of Lear Romec, an aerospace manufacturer that supplies parts for commercial and military aircraft, went on strike as of midnight Sunday after rejecting a contract offer from their employer.
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1849 members walked the picket line outside Lear Romec, 241 S. Abbe Road, starting at midnight Sunday.
Union steward Mark Butler said Monday that contract negotiations have been ongoing for three to four weeks. He said union members voted to strike after the latest contract offer from Lear Romec was rejected, seeking better benefits and job security.
“The biggest thing is, we want to protect our jobs and make sure they stay local,” he said. “With all the jobs moving out of the area, we want to keep our jobs in our communities.”
Butler said members were concerned about benefits — paying higher deductibles “month after month” — after “record months and record years” for company profits.
He said Sunday’s contract offer was voted down, though the company and negotiating committee were expected back at the bargaining table as soon as Monday afternoon to try to work out an agreement.
“A strike is no good for anybody,” Butler said. “When we’re working, our communities, they prosper as well.”
When employees are on strike and not working, he said, “everybody loses”
including the company, the vendors and stores in the area.
Butler said the union isn’t asking “for anything outrageous or anything we don’t feel like we deserve,” just a “fair and honest benefits package” to “secure our jobs for us and the future employees.”
A message seeking comment on the strike was left for Lear Romec officials.
Founded in 1904, according to its website, Lear Romec was acquired by Crane Aerospace & Electronics of Lynnwood, Washington, in 1990. It produces pumps and fluid transport parts for aircraft and aircraft engines.
“We’d like to profit like they’re profiting,” Butler said. “That’s the American way. We go to work every day, and there’s a very large skilled labor (force) in that building because it is aerospace. We go to work every day and produce and have record months and record years. We want to be taken care of and protected and make sure our company stays local.”