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Originally published February 25, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Page modified February 26, 2013 at 6:33 AM

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Machinists vote to authorize strike at Hytek in Kent

Members of the IAM union at the aerospace company voted to reject the company’s contract offer, but union negotiators offered to meet with management for one more bargaining session.

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

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Members of the Machinist union at Kent-based aerospace company Hytek Finishes voted Saturday to reject a four-year contract offer and to authorize a strike.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) represents 188 hourly workers at the plant, of whom about 140 have signed up as members. The union has been negotiating the contract, its first at Hytek, since August 2011.

More than two-thirds of those voting backed contract rejection and endorsed a strike, the union said.

Hytek, a subsidiary of Bellevue aerospace conglomerate Esterline, employs about 245 people in Kent. Using chemicals to coat, plate or anodize surfaces, they finish parts and components made at machine shops for aerospace manufacturers, including Boeing.

Kevin Cummings, IAM lead negotiator, said the union has offered to hold one more bargaining session with Hytek management before it sets a date for the strike. The company has yet to respond, he said.

The two sides have differed sharply over the company health-care plan and pay increases, and whether or not individual employees should have a choice to be in the union.

However, the union is calling for a strike on the basis that the company has not bargained in good faith, chiefly by withholding information.

“We want to give management one last chance,” Cummings said. “Management must come to the table ready to deal fairly. If they don’t, these Machinists are ready to go.”

Hytek President Clif Johnsonissued a statement detailing the company’s offer, which includes guaranteed 3 percent pay increases in each year of the four-year contract, a $500 bonus for signing the contract, and higher upper limits to the pay scale.

“We are extremely disappointed by the vote,” Johnson said.

He added that much of the 17-month standoff in talks with the union has been caused by disagreement over whether employees should be allowed to choose whether or not to join the IAM.

The statement said that if a strike happens, replacement workers may be hired.

Dominic Gates: (206) 464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com

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