Bell Helicopter Osprys in airplane mode.
A. Lee Graham Reporter
Members of United Auto Workers Local 218 have rejected Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter’s proposed three-year contract offer. “UAW Local 218’s membership has spoken, and has rejected Bell Helicopter’s last and final offer by 85 percent no, 15 percent yes,” reads a post on the union’s website made after the Sunday vote. Union officials on Friday said they had bargained “in good faith” with the company and planned to continue negotiating an agreement. A Bell Helicopter spokesman said the company is “disappointed” in the union’s contract rejection. “However, we will allow the employees represented by UAW Local 218 to continue to work on a temporary basis while Bell Helicopter and the UAW continue to negotiate,” said Bell Helicopter spokesman Bill Schroeder. What Schroeder called a “highly competitive, world-class offer” included, on average, $15,682 in increased compensation per employee over the life of the agreement. “The company has been, and continues to be, wildly profitable; yet the company seeks to fundamentally change and destroy the collective bargaining agreement that has helped achieve and maintain that profitability with the punitive and unnecessary proposals and changes,” the union said on its website. As of Monday morning, the union had not announced whether it would go on strike or continue negotiations. The union website instructed its members to report to work as scheduled “until further notice” and to check for further updates. Contract negotiations have been ongoing since April 18. The union’s four-year agreement expired at midnight Sunday. Bell and union members have been meeting since April to negotiate a contract. The union’s four-year agreement expired Sunday at midnight.