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Originally published Friday, March 1, 2013 at 12:08 PM

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Hytek, Machinists reach a deal

Esterline’s Kent-based Hytek Finishes unit and the Machinists agreed to their first union contract less than a week after union members authorized a strike.

By Seattle Times staff

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The first union contract at Esterline’s Kent-based Hytek Finishes unit was narrowly approved by members of the Machinist union less than a week after they rejected an earlier version.

A company statement Friday said negotiators had shifted “the timing and form of certain wage increases to give employees a higher, immediate signing bonus without changing the total cost of the agreement.”

The union said the revised agreement got a 52 percent yes vote Thursday, while the earlier proposal was rejected by nearly a 3-to-1 margin. The union represents 188 hourly workers at the plant, of whom about 140 have signed up as members.

Hytek’s statement said the contract “retains a longstanding Hytek tradition of providing every employee freedom to choose whether they join the union or not.”

That provision had been a major sticking point in contract negotiations that began in August 2011, Hytek President Clif Johnson said in a previous interview.

The earlier offer included guaranteed 3 percent pay increases in each year of the contract, a $500 signing bonus and higher upper limits to the pay scale.

Union members rejected that contract Feb. 23 and authorized a strike.

The revised contract gives members more flexibility to divert money into a health savings plan, Kevin Cummings, the union’s lead negotiator, said in a statement.

Hytek, which employs about 245, applies chemicals to coat, plate or anodize parts made at machine shops for aerospace manufacturers, including Boeing.

Material from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

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