Hamilton Sundstrand Machinists To Vote On New Contract Or Strike

Aerospace manufacturer's 1,200 workers will vote on a three-year contract or strike; negotiations began March 6, 2007.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Machinists at the aerospace manufacturer that makes spacesuits and other components for NASA are scheduled to vote Sunday to accept a new labor contract or strike, a union official said Thursday.

James Parent, a representative of District Lodge 26 of the International Association of Machinists, said a federal mediator is working with the union and Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies Inc., to negotiate a three-year contract.

Hamilton Sundstrand, based in Windsor Locks, designs and manufactures aerospace systems for NASA, including the astronauts' spacesuit and space capsule toilet, and is a supplier for commercial, regional, corporate and military aircraft. It also is the manufacturer of auxiliary power systems for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is to begin service next year.

The union, which represents about 1,200 workers, and Hamilton Sundstrand, have agreed to a news blackout that prohibits discussion of the negotiations. Parent's only comment was that the two sides have made little progress in negotiations, which began March 6.

On its Web site, the union said the company has proposed increases in health care costs for employees, changes in seniority and the possibility that rules would make layoffs easier.

Dan Coulom, a spokesman for Hamilton Sundstrand, would not comment.

Workers last went on strike at Hamilton Sundstrand in 1960.

If workers reject the contract proposal, a strike would begin at midnight Sunday, Parent said.