Sunday: Airbrake Contract Extended

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One day after unionized workers rejected a contract proposal, New York Airbrake management agreed to extend the current contract by two weeks.

Airbrake president Michael Hawthorne told 7 News Sunday that he anticipates more negotiations between the company and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers will take place Tuesday.

Hawthorne met with his negotiating team Sunday.

The current contract expires at midnight.

Our report from Saturday...

Unionized workers at New York Airbrake 'overwhelmingly' rejected the company's contract proposal during an all day meeting Saturday, according to a union official.

Workers also authorized a strike, but plan to keep working as long as negotiations are going on, said John Carr of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Carr said the union hopes to negotiate with the company again on Tuesday.

Michael Hawthorne, president of New York Airbrake, told 7 News Saturday night that his negotiating team will meet Sunday to consider the company's next move.

The union's contract with Airbrake expires Monday. The union represents 151 workers at Airbrake.

As described by union officials Friday, the company's contract offer would cut pay for unionized workers, who make an average of $20.88 an hour. The cut could run as high as $4.15 an hour, a union official said, and the contract also hurt the workers' pension plan and gave the company the right to use more non-union labor.

That contract offer was rejected by union members who packed the North Pole fire hall just outside of Watertown all day Saturday. 7 News reporter Matt McClusky, who spent the day outside the meeting, said workers leaving the meeting Saturday night would not answer questions.

The contract dispute comes as Airbrake prepares to add as many as 50 jobs in Watertown, the result of closing the company's plant in Kingston, Ontario.

While announcing the job shift in February, Hawthorne noted the company is facing global competition and is under pressure to reduce costs.

 

Friday, October 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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