NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Hundreds of striking workers from the largest union at Raytheon Co. picketed the defense contractor's 10 Massachusetts facilities Monday, one day after the union rejected the company's latest proposal.|
Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 1505, which represents about 3,000 workers including plumbers, electricians and janitors, began a strike just after midnight Sunday, when their current two-year contract expired.
Union officials said the company's latest offer failed to provide sufficient health and job security benefits.
The strike affects just over 3 percent of Raytheon's global workforce of about 94,000. Raytheon (RTN.B: Research, Estimates), the No. 3 U.S. defense contractor, employs about 13,000 people in Massachusetts.
At one point in 1995, Raytheon had 19,500 workers in the state, but has slowly transferred jobs to its other facilities in Arizona and southern California. The moves came despite Raytheon winning a controversial tax break that was aimed at saving manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts.
In Andover, Mass., some 300 strikers on Monday angrily picketed Raytheon's facility that makes Patriot missiles, which were credited with playing a crucial role in the 1991 Gulf War.
"The whole strike is about medical security and job benefits," George Noel, a striking union member, told Reuters. He spoke from a picket line outside a company facility in Andover.
The Lexington, Mass.-based company, well known for its Patriot missile, said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the decision to strike. "The contract proposal is comprehensive and addresses the substantive issues brought to the table by the union," the company said Sunday.
Still, operations were normal at the Andover plant, where the majority of the strikers were based, and other Massachusetts facilities, Raytheon spokesman David Polk told CNNfn.com.
"We are getting the job done with people who are there," Polk said, noting that many of the employees at the Andover facility are not members of the striking union. "We have taken the necessary steps to continue operations."
No talks between the two sides are scheduled, Polk said, adding that Raytheon believes strongly that its most recent proposal addressed the union's concerns.
Raytheon's class "B" shares fell to a Monday close of 28.56, off 0.44. Its 52-week high is 69.25.
-- from staff and wire reports.