IP Buffenbarger and GST Mart Join Bombardier Picketers

International President Tom Buffenbarger and Secretary-Treasurer Warren Mart joined workers on the picket line who have been on strike in Wichita, KS, since October 1.

IAM Members of Local 639 assemble Learjets for Bombardier Aerospace. They voted to authorize a strike after rejecting a three-year contract from the Montreal-based plane maker. The strike, which is the first by Machinists at the Wichita facility, was endorsed by 80 percent of the voting members.

The nearly 1,100 IAM members at Bombardier accepted a pay freeze three years ago, when the industry was in a slump and the company claimed it needed to cut costs and threatened to close one or two plants. No new talks are scheduled.

“I’m proud of the determination of the members to achieve a strong contract that is just and fair,” said IP Buffenbarger. “They are fighting for all aerospace workers who face corporations trying to take away from the people who make the profits possible.”

“It is an honor to walk the line with these members,” said GST Mart. “They helped Bombardier when the chips were down, Bombardier should recognize their sacrifices now that times are better.”