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Learjet opens more gates as strike continues

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, at 11:57 p.m.

On the second day of a strike by Bombardier Learjet’s Machinists union, the company said that it was opening more gates and entries into the company and returning to normal start and stop times for workers.

No plans have been made to return to the bargaining table, although each side said it’s interested in meeting.

“Not yet,” said Machinists spokesman Bob Wood.

The union represents 825 hourly workers at the Learjet facility in west Wichita.

Members voted Saturday to reject Learjet’s offer of a new five-year agreement and to strike.

They rejected the company’s proposal, which would raise health care costs and offer no raises in the first year and 1 percent increases in each of the four years after.

The strike began at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Those who come to work will have five entries into the plant on Wednesday, up from one entry on Monday morning.

They can use the east side on Learjet Way by the Learjet 35 aircraft on display, the new east parking lot off of Woodchuck, Building 9, the Learjet Way entrance on Tyler or the new parking lot entrance on Tyler.

Access also will be granted to contractors.

While the company is returning to normal working hours, production on second shift will not be in effect, the company said on a website regarding negotiations.

Managers will confirm shift times for their workers, the company said.

“Use good judgment and work with your manager on arrival times,” the company said on the website.

The company told employees that when they leave the facility, to pull up to the white line and stop. A “picketer can walk in front of your vehicle,” the company said. “When it is safe to proceed, then you can carefully proceed to the exit.”

It suggests that those who are working carpool if possible, to remain calm, and to act professionally, and to not force their way in.

If picketers stop the car, “you need only say that you wish to enter,” the advice on the website states.

Contact Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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