Hundreds of Hamilton Sundstrand employees walked the picket line Monday after a company lockout. United Autoworker union members were locked out Sunday night after rejecting the company's latest contract offer.
Hamilton Sundstrand won't let this employees get back to work until a new contract is reached, so instead of working inside the plant, they're picketing outside of it, urging the company to make a better offer. Gates are locked and guards are posted at Hamilton Sundstrand’s Rockford facilities to keep these union workers from going back to work without a new contract.
Hope Wiles said, "It's my first lockout and it's kind of scary."
"We’re hoping it will be worth it but we don't know. It depends on the union and the company. If they can get together and make a goal of it." adds Darrell Schaaf.
Union workers say the company is posting good earnings and should offer better retirement and health care benefits. Many say they'd rather be working inside without a contract than walking in the picket line.
"I like a routine. I like a paycheck," says Wilkes.
While company officials won't comment on how the lockout is effecting operations, those walking the picket line have a few ideas of their own.
"Complete turmoil, because it's always that way. I know when we've been out before we comeback and it's utter chaos. It usually takes four to six weeks to get the mess cleaned up," Schaaf explains.
There appears to be little movement to get back to the negotiating table, so while they're locked out, these workers will continue to carry picket signs outside of Hamilton Sunstrand facilities.
Many of these union members were also locked out back in the mid 1980s. They are being paid a lockout wage of just $200 a week beginning in June. Health insurance will be covered by a union fund. The UAW local 592 represents nearly 800 Sundstrand workers.