The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) this week notified the IAM that managers at Hytek Finishes in Kent, WA committed nine separate violations of the National Labor Relations Act over the past 14 months during negotiations with the IAM over a contract for hourly workers at the plant.
Hytek Finishes is a major supplier to the Boeing Company and a subsidiary of Bellevue-based Esterline Corp. The 175 hourly workers at Hytek do metal finishing and etching with hazardous chemicals to produce high-quality aircraft parts for the world’s biggest airplane manufacturers.
Among their findings, NLRB investigators determined Hytek managers improperly withheld information from the union necessary for fair bargaining, improperly withheld important information about chemical releases at the plant that impacted the health and safety of both workers and the public and failed to bargain with the union prior to changing working conditions.
Hourly workers at Hytek voted in August 2011, by a 2-1 margin, to join IAM District Lodge 751 in Seattle. Talks for a contract that would create safer conditions and increase workers’ pay started in October 2011, but quickly bogged down when Hytek refused to bring proposals to the table or engage in fair bargaining.
“For more than a year now, Hytek managers have dragged their feet and refused to follow the law,” said Western Territory GLR Kevin Cummings. “Maybe now they’ll get serious about negotiating a fair contract with our members. They’ve had their lives on hold long enough.”
In addition to Boeing, Hytek’s customers include Lockheed Martin and Bell Helicopters. Hytek is also an important supplier to the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“This should send a loud message to all employers that when the Machinists Union is the employees’ choice for representation in the workplace we will stand and fight alongside them until our members get what they deserve; Justice on the Job,” declared Western Territory GVP Gary Allen.