Bell Helicopter Strike in Texas Ends
A bitter six-week strike at Bell Helicopter Textron’s transmission and rotor blade component plants in Fort Worth, Texas, ended after union members ratified a revised four-year contract offer yesterday morning. Nearly 2,500 members of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 218 struck the company on June 14 after rejecting an initial offer from Bell that increased wages, but also increased the share of employee-paid health care costs. The union also objected to what it said was Bell’s plan to eliminate 44 unionized janitors and reduce the number of union representatives. It was Bell’s first strike in 22 years and evidence from the field suggests that it affected spares availability for some, but not all, large Bell civil fleet customers contacted by AIN. The majority of Bell’s plants–those that make civil helicopters in Canada and military plants in Amarillo, Texas, that make helicopters including the V-22 tiltrotor–are non-union. Bell said the strike did not have any effect on new helicopter deliveries.