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Machinists Gird for Bitter Strike at Solar

July 15, 1987|H.G. REZA | Times Staff Writer

Machinists at Solar Turbines Inc. were poised for a long and bitter strike Tuesday after company officials vowed not to budge from their proposal, but a settlement apparently has been reached in the machinists' dispute with another company.

Solar spokeswoman Val DeWitt-Ruiz vowed that company negotiators will not meet with officials from the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers again unless the union agrees to accept Solar's "final offer." About 1,000 machinists from Lodge 685 struck Solar at midnight Sunday.

Meanwhile, about 83 machinists are back at work at the Langley Corp. after rejecting a company offer and voting Saturday to strike. Bud Michel, business representative for IAM District 50, said the machinists returned to work Monday after company officials offered to modify the rejected contract.

Offer Rejected

Langley workers turned down a company offer of 3% lump-sum payments in the first and second years of the contract, followed by a 2% general wage increase in the third year. Michel said company officials are modifying their wage and pension proposals and that talks are continuing. The machinists will vote Saturday on the proposal.

Langley company officials could not be reached for comment.

In the Solar dispute, Matt McKinnon, business agent for Lodge 685, confirmed that the company's stance in the negotiations has hardened. He said union negotiators last communicated with Solar officials Sunday night, through a federal mediator.

"The company said they would talk only if we talked about signing their contract. The company is saying they're prepared to go a long time. Well, so are we," McKinnon said.

DeWitt-Ruiz said Solar would not discuss the contract publicly, but McKinnon said talks have stalled over job security and the company's wage and pension proposals.

One Shift Operating

Although the strike has forced Solar to operate with one shift rather than the usual three, DeWitt-Ruiz claimed that the company's production schedule has been unaffected. She said Solar will be able to take new orders because the work is being performed by management personnel and by some workers who crossed the picket line.

"Some union people have crossed the picket line. We've got buses bringing in people who chose to cross the picket line," she said.

McKinnon admitted that 13 workers have crossed the picket line but said they are not experienced machinists.

"The scabs are forklift drivers, foundry workers and the like. The nuts and bolts of their operation does not have any scab machinists," he said.

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