Sikorsky Workers Strike

Union members reject a contract offer from the United Technologies unit, citing increased health care costs.
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Nearly 3,600 workers at helicopter-maker Sikorsky Aircraft walked off the job Monday after rejecting management's latest offer on a new 3-year contract.

Workers with Local 1150 of the Teamsters Sunday voted to strike, citing increased health insurance costs in the company's offer, the

Associated Press

reported. The union represents 3,500 Sikorsky workers in Connecticut and 90 in Florida.

This is the first strike since 1963 at Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky, a unit of publicly traded

United Technologies

(SYMBOL)

, the

AP

report said.

"We are disappointed that union members failed to ratify the contract," said Elizabeth Amato, a Sikorsky representative, in a statement on the company's Web site. "The company presented what we believe is a fair and equitable contract that is competitive with the region and the industry."

Sikorsky remains open for work, the statement added.

Defending their offer, company officials said it included 3.5% pay raises each year, pension improvements and a $2,000 ratification bonus, according to the

AP

report.

Union negotiators criticized the contract's medical provisions and pointed to a doubling of health care copayments in the first year and a 15% increase over the next two years.