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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Raytheon union strike has little effect on UA student employees

    Raytheon employee Hernand Enriquez strikes with Len Martel, center, and Steve Horchair, right, outside the Raytheon complex yesterday. The machinists at Raytheon are on strike to receive increased wages.
    Raytheon employee Hernand Enriquez strikes with Len Martel, center, and Steve Horchair, right, outside the Raytheon complex yesterday. The machinists at Raytheon are on strike to receive increased wages.

    Student employees and interns at Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson’s largest employer, are unfazed by the ongoing union strike, according to UA engineering departments.

    The strike, organized by members of Local 933 of the International Association of Machinists, will have minimal affect on UA students, said Jill Gibson, business manager for the aerospace and mechanical engineering department.

    “”All of our students that have any kind of internships are working alongside the salaried engineers,”” Gibson said.

    Kelly North, business manager for the material science and engineering department, said that she is not aware of the strike affecting any of the 20 student workers from her department who are employed at Raytheon.

    The strike began Monday after the union, whose members earn hourly wages, rejected the company’s offer for staged wage increases to offset rising medical insurance premiums.

    The union represents approximately 2,000 workers who plan to carry on the strike “”one day longer,”” said Steve Taylor, IAM’s assistant directing business representative.

    Taylor said Raytheon has not communicated with IAM since the union went on strike Monday morning.

    Raytheon spokesperson Sara Hammond said it’s business as usual – engineers are in the labs, and research and development continue.

    “”There weren’t any problems, we still have 8,000 other employees working,”” Hammond said yesterday.

    Hammond could not comment on how many of the 8,000 employees were UA students.

    The only obstacle to nonunion employees so far came Monday, when traffic was re-routed to the Kolb Road entrance of the Raytheon location at the UA Science and Technology Park, 9030 S. Rita Road.

    The crowd of union workers has since dwindled, with only a handful of union employees holding signs around the Tech Park entrance yesterday.

    Taylor said the union would remain on strike until some agreement is reached to adjust workers’ wages with the increasing consumer price index, which is topping 3.8 percent.

    “”We just want workers to live their everyday lives, not live paycheck to paycheck,”” he said.

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