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Monday, April 03, 2006

Strike ends

From the Hartford Courant
Striking workers at Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. ended their six-week walkout Sunday by ratifying a three-year contract that includes a new health care plan many had vowed never to accept.

After daylong balloting, union leaders emerged from the headquarters of Teamsters Local 1150 Sunday evening to announce that members had approved Sikorsky's latest contract offer by a margin of 72 votes: 1,488 in favor to 1,416 opposed.

The voting ended an increasingly bitter strike by about 3,600 members of Teamsters Local 1150 who work at the famed maker of military and commercial helicopters in Connecticut and Florida.

At the center of the contract dispute was a new company health care plan that would hike costs to workers by raising premiums, co-payments, co-insurance expenses and other expenses.

Except for a $3,000 ratification bonus, $1,000 more than originally included, the contract offer narrowly approved Sunday was virtually identical to one that Teamsters Local 1150 rejected six weeks earlier. It calls for annual salary increases of 3.5 percent.

Despite the outcome, union officials vowed to continue their fight for better health coverage in a variety of forums, including next week's annual shareholders meeting for Sikorsky's parent company, United Technologies Corp.