DAVENPORT, Iowa — One month after local members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) began their strike against Eaton Corporation, the company is now advertising for picketers' permanent replacements with banners right above their heads.
At the beginning of March, Eaton announced it would begin hiring workers to permanently fill union members' jobs. The company stated the duties of IAM workers are highly technical and require months of training, something union members have also attested to.
Since then, the company has repeatedly stated 50 union members crossed the picket line and returned to work. That number has been denied numerous times by multiple union members, who say the real number is less than 10.
On the line, workers have some new signs of their own as well, showing off apparent details of the health care benefits Eaton presented workers in two previously-offered contracts.
Union members say the deal Eaton wants would ramp up out-of-pocket costs for a variety of health care needs, including a $1,000 deductible for an emergency room visit. IAM workers tell News 8 that same visit would only cost $50 under their old plan.
IAM officials did not confirm or respond to a request for comment on those numbers.
Another hand-painted sign noted that Eaton's union workers had been considered essential throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. That same display, accuses the company of not offering a fair contract even though Eaton has seen record profits.
According to Eaton's fourth-quarter earning's report, the company saw $19.6 billion in sales in 2021.
Globally, aerospace sales accounted for $759 million in just the fourth quarter. The company says that's a 40% increase from 2020's fourth quarter revenues. Of that growth, 37% of the 40% jump is directly attributed to the acquisition of the Davenport facility.
Eaton bought the plant from Cobham Mission Systems in the summer of 2021 for $2.8 billion.
IAM officials said virtual talks with Eaton were set to resume on March 15. Neither side has confirmed if those meetings are still taking place. In-person negotiations are supposed to begin again on March 22, according to the union.