UAW 218 Ends Strike
By a vote of 2 to 1 on Wednesday, July 22, Bell Helicopter employees ended their 6-week strike with a new contract.
News coverage from the corporate sources, as expected, painted it as a defeat for the workers. But was it really?
- The workers only earned meager strike benefits while doing without their usual take-home pay for 6 weeks
- The contract they ratified may have been no better than the one they were offered before they struck
- Union relations were strained because the white-collar workers in UAW 317 ratified their contract while UAW 218 continued the strike
- UAW 218 can walk with pride. The union pulled off a strike with very few scab defections under economic conditions and other circumstances that were extremely difficult.
- The outpouring of solidarity from other unions was much better than we have seen in this area for many years. The Texas AFL-CIO, for example, raised $5,000! Even students with no unions helped on the picket lines!
- 2,500 union members learned lessons that will help them in the difficult times ahead
- Say what you will about scabs and sellouts, it's really strengthening for a union to find out who they are
- Bell Helicopter management, which must have lost millions of dollars, will think very hard about challenging UAW 218 next time!