SAN DIEGO — An estimated 4,500 Machinists Union members are scheduled to vote on a new contract offer today that could end a 12-day-old strike against Rohr Industries.
Union leaders agreed Thursday to put the aerospace company's offer to a membership vote, but said they won't reveal whether they favor the new terms until just before the balloting.
Union members will meet in the National Orange Show Pavilion in San Bernardino and in Balboa Park in San Diego at 9 a.m. to vote on the new contract.
Rohr spokesman Dick Dalton said the company hopes the new offer will be accepted, bringing the walkout to an end. He estimated that regular work schedules at the plant could be resumed within 24 hours of a contract agreement.
Dalton said the company had sweetened its pre-strike offer by agreeing to return to existing cost-of-living payment methods in which the additional pay is included in weekly checks. The company had earlier proposed a deferred cost-of-living payment plan. He said the company had also "significantly increased" its pension benefit offer.
Company and union officials, meeting with a federal negotiator since Monday, agreed Tuesday night to present the company's latest proposal to union membership for a vote. Union officials, however, did not agree to recommend passage, according to Bob Redman, spokesman for Local 755 in Chula Vista, the company's headquarters.
Machinists union negotiators continued meetings with company officials and Federal Mediator Clinton Brame Wednesday to work out remaining differences. Redman said that three issues remain unsettled: amnesty for strikers arrested Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 for rock-throwing and other incidents around Rohr facilities in Riverside; and deletion of Saturday and Sunday shifts from regular workweek scheduling.
The strike began when the three-year contract expired one minute after midnight Feb. 16, and following rejection of the company's previous contract proposal by machinists union membership.
The Chula Vista facility employs 2,300 workers; another 2,200 work at three Riverside plants. Rohr makes aircraft parts and aircraft engine components for commercial, business and military aircraft, and rocket motor casings for the space program.