Plant workers join union

March 14, 2000|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Close to half of the employees at the California Microwave Systems' Hagerstown plant voted last week to organize as part of the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers (IUE), according to a company spokesman.

By majority vote in a March 9 election, 28 employees classified as aircraft mechanics chose to join the union, according to Jim Reinhard, media relations manager for Northrop Grumman's Baltimore-based Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector.

The election is awaiting certification by the National Labor Relations Board, Reinhard said.

The union already represents some employees in Northrop Grumman's Baltimore facility, he said.

The Hagerstown plant, which opened Jan. 1, 1996, is down to 61 employees following a layoff of 45 workers last month due to a lack of work following completion of two U.S. Army contracts, Reinhard said.

Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman purchased California Microwave Systems, formerly a division of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based California Microwave Inc., in April 1999.


The California Microwave plant, at Top Flight Air Park near Hagerstown Regional Airport, modifies standard commuter planes with high-tech surveillance equipment used by the U.S. military.

The company has won a "good-sized" contract from the U.S. Coast Guard to modify some of its aircraft, Reinhard said.

He said he couldn't provide details yet, but the contract will probably mean work for the Hagerstown plant.

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