Would Affect 4,000 Workers : Union Calls for Strike by Convair Machinists

Times Staff Writer

Union officials on Wednesday recommended that machinists reject the contract proposed by the Convair Division of General Dynamics and strike the giant defense contractor at midnight Saturday.

Convair spokesman Jack Isabel said that negotiators from the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Lodge 1125, informed the company that they will urge rejection of the contract when members meet Saturday morning.

A strike would affect 4,000 machinists and several defense and commercial programs including the Tomahawk cruise missile, Atlas rocket and DC-10 fuselage work that is subcontracted by McDonnell Douglas.


Pension Called Inadequate

As with two other current labor disputes involving the IAM, union negotiators balked at the company’s wage and pension proposals. Convair negotiators have offered lump sum increases that total $4,800 over the three years of the proposed contract. IAM officials have argued that the lump sum proposals are being offered without a general wage increase. Machinists at Convair earn, on average, about $15 an hour.

Convair also offered pension benefits of $23 per month per year of service. IAM officials have dismissed this as inadequate, and point out that machinists at Rohr Industries settled for $24, while the IAM settled for $26 at Lockheed.

“We have presented the best contract this company has ever presented,” Isabel said. “It’s the last, best and final offer. The next move will be up to the union.”

According to Isabel, Convair has organized a “strike contingency plan” that includes bringing in outside machinists if a strike drags on. A machinists strike at Convair three years ago lasted two weeks.

Job Security Main Issue

IAM officials could not be reached for comment. But earlier in the week, union spokesmen charged that Convair had joined other employers in demanding take-aways that jeopardize job security. Job security has emerged as the main issue at Solar Turbines Inc., which was struck by about 1,000 machinists over the weekend.

Union officials had recommended rejection of the contracts offered by Solar and the Langley Corp. Both proposals were voted down last weekend, but Langley machinists returned to work Monday after company officials offered to modify the contract. The workers will vote on Langley’s new offer Saturday.