The 365 Quad Cities members of the machinists local 388 and 1191 went on strike on Thursday, February 17 at midnight.  Since then in a show of support, other unions from across the community have joined them on the lines.

Eaton was formerly Cobham Mission Systems before being bought for nearly $3 billion.  The company has a lot of government contract work making aerial refueling equipment, fuel tank inerting systems, and environmental products for the military as well as aerospace companies, according to a spokesperson.

Eaton, a global company with nearly 90,000 total employees, has posted no press release on the strike on the Eaton website, however, they do have this press release sharing details of their record 4th quarter results.  While Eaton Quad Cities has nearly 400 union workers, they also employee nearly 500 nonunion workers.

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This morning, striking workers were greeted with honks of cars driving by in support.  And greeted on the lines by UAW workers that just recently went through their own strike with John Deere.  The workers also said that over the weekend they were joined on the lines by members of the teachers union.

What are the Eaton union workers saying?

Overall spirits were high as the sun was shining on a cool but dry Monday morning.  The workers, all wanting to remain anonymous, stated that "they would much rather be inside working, but that they wanted what is fair."  Some said they don't expect a John Deere level contract, but expected a new contract that took in cost of living increases.

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Strikers also stated they were hopeful things would be wrapped up quickly.  After 98% of the union voted no to the new contract, a new contract was sent to Eaton by the union.  As of the time of this story the company has not sent anything back to the union.

A press release sent by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

“We refuse to accept sub-standard wages or the erosion of our health care and retirement benefits,” said IAM District 6 Directing Business Representative John Herrig. “IAM Local 388 and IAM Local 1191 members are fighting for a contract that will make life better for themselves and their families. The past two years have been tough during the pandemic, especially as essential manufacturing workers. All we are asking for is a fair share produced from the blood, sweat and tears of work that makes Eaton Mission Systems Division of Davenport successful. We hope that the company will hear our call for respect and dignity from the picket line.”

IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway added,

“IAM members at Local 388 and Local 1191 deserve a contract that improves their lives and not one that makes it worse,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “The IAM will utilize all of our resources to ensure our members at Eaton Mission Systems Division of Davenport receive a contract that is worthy of their hard work and allows them at the end of each workday to hold their heads up high.”

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You can read the full press release here.

The last Quad Cities strike lasted just over a month.  Just like the last strike, workers want to get back to work.  They also feel like they aren't asking for too much just what's fair.  They are also seeing support from the community and other unions in the Quad Cities.

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