Triumph says it has plans to keep operating if machinists strike

SEATTLE Triumph Group has contingency plans in case machinists strike at one of its aerospace factories that supplies parts to Boeing and other aircraft makers, the company said on Monday.

Triumph spokeswoman Lynne Warne said in response to Reuters questions that the company would continue to operate during any work stoppage and “meet its obligations” to customers.

About 400 members of the International Association of Machinists are voting on Monday on a contract offer and strike ballot, the company and the union said. If two-thirds of the workers who vote approve a strike, the walkout would begin at 12:01 a.m. PDT on Wednesday (3.01 a.m. ET), the union said.

Triumph “has contingency plans in place,” Warne said in an email. The factory “will keep operating and will continue to meet its obligations to its customers during any work stoppage.”

Warne said Triumph’s contingency plans did not include having engineers fill in for striking machinists. Leaders of the plant’s engineering union recently told the company in a letter they believed such temporary assignments were not allowed under the contract for members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.

“SPEEA employees will be involved in providing support to replacement workers in a number of ways, many of which are similar to the type of tasks they already perform,” Warne said.

Triumph shares rose 0.6 percent to $35.66 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

Loss of production from a key supplier has the potential to disrupt aircraft production at Boeing and Airbus, industry experts said. It was not clear how much inventory might be available that would allow aircraft assembly to continue or how many of the parts made at the plant are also made at other factories.

The 394,000-square-foot (36,600-square-metre) facility, known as Triumph Composite Systems located in Spokane, Washington, makes about 20,000 parts a month, including floor panels, air ducts and interior pieces for cockpits and passenger cabins, the company said on its website.

A former Boeing facility, the plant makes parts for a number of Boeing aircraft, including the 787 Dreamliner, industry experts said. Boeing sold the factory to Triumph in 2003.

Boeing and Airbus have declined to comment on the potential for a work stoppage at the factory.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Peter Cooney and David Gregorio)

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