An end appears in sight for hundreds of locked out Hamilton Sundstrand workers. The union members could be back on the job Monday morning if they accept the company's latest contract offer. Union members are voting on the new offer.
In a matter of a couple of hours, we're expecting a big decision here. After being locked out, off the job for six weeks, union members could ratify a new contract and be back to work on Monday.
For the first time in weeks, no one is picketing outside of Hamilton Sundstrand, instead nearly 800 union workers showed up here to learn the details of a new five year contract offer.
"If we don't ratify this, it will certainly make things more grim for us and the company."
The contract increases wages by 16 percent over five years. By ratifying, union members would get a 15-hundred dollar bonus. A big sticking point is healthcare for retirees. The company is offering to extend retiree benefits but only until 2008. As union members left an informational meeting, they said they'd given a lot to get a little.
"This isn't a good deal. The CEO is making millions and he doesn't want to give us healthcare. That's ridiculous."
Many of these workers say they're not happy about the offer but feel pressured to take it, fearing Sundstrand would pull out of Rockford.
"We'll go back to work and do our jobs like we always have and hopefully they'll make us a better offer next time."
Workers say a big concern is that the pay increase would be eaten up by higher costs for healthcare. Polls close here at 6 p.m. and we should know the outcome by about 7:30 or 8:00.