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Kent's Hytek Finishes rejects mediation offer in union talks | Update

Informational pickets from the Machinists Union walk in front of Hytek Finishes March 21 in Kent to support company employees seeking a new contract. - STEVE HUNTER, Kent Reporter
Informational pickets from the Machinists Union walk in front of Hytek Finishes March 21 in Kent to support company employees seeking a new contract.
— image credit: STEVE HUNTER, Kent Reporter

The Machinists Union says management at Kent's Hytek Finishes rejected an offer from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help resolve contract talks.

The union described the talks as "increasingly contentious."

“The IAM has continued to listen to Hytek concerns, no matter how far-fetched they are,” said Kevin Cummings, a representative of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers who leads the union’s bargaining team, in a Tuesday media release. “We have made multiple efforts to propose options to address their issues. They have refused to offer the same level of professionalism and courtesy.”

Despite that, Cummings said the union remains “open to anything that might lead to an agreement that both sides can live with.“

Cummings said that the federal mediation service has assigned an officer to follow the talks between management at Hytek, a subsidiary of Bellevue-based Esterline Corp., and the union as they try to reach a first contract.

Esterline officials did not respond to a Kent Reporter email for comment about the contract talks. Negotiations have been underway since October. Hourly workers at Hytek – there are now roughly 175 of them – voted 2-to-1 in August to join Machinists Union District Lodge 751.

The Machinists at Hytek do metal finishing and metal plating on aerospace parts. Boeing, Lockheed and Bell Helicopters are major customers, and Hytek is an important supplier for the Pentagon’s Joint Strike Fighter.

The workers have asked for improvements in three major areas: safety, pay and benefits.

Roughly 200 Machinists Union volunteers from Boeing and other employers mounted an informational picket outside the Hytek plant on March 21 as a show of support for their fellow union members.

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