Pickets gather outside composites plant in Port Angeles
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Pickets hold signs outside the Angeles Composite Technologies Inc. plant in west Port Angeles on Monday. -- Photo by Rob Ollikainen/Peninsula Daily News

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Sixteen union pickets held signs Monday to demand a “fair contract” from Angeles Composite Technologies Inc.

The high-tech manufacturing firm in west Port Angeles serves the global commercial and military aerospace markets.

Noel Willet, business representative and lead negotiator for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said the union has been trying to negotiate a contract with ACTI, 2138 W. 18th St., for 16 months.

“We’ve been at the bargaining table with federal mediation, and the company is unwilling to come to fair terms on the contract,” Willet said.

Bargaining assistant Wayne Thompson said a group of ACTI workers joined the “informational picket” on their lunch break.

“Other union members are here to give support to these folks,” he added.

ACTI President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Rauch responded to the picketing with a statement.

“ACTI has been negotiating with the IAM union in good faith for over 16 months, with an eye toward a fair contract that realistically takes into account the industry and economy,” Rauch’s statement said.

“While we have reached many tentative agreements, both negotiating teams continue their work.”

Rauch added that ACTI’s bargaining unit employees have on their own chosen to file a decertification petition with the National Labor Relations Board to try to vote the union out.

An election on that issue is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Willet said the pickets might return to ACTI this week. The business is part of the Port of Port Angeles’ composites campus near William R. Fairchild International Airport.

“We don’t really have any set plans, but we may very well be back out here,” Willet said.

Company employees voted overwhelmingly to join the International Association of Machinists in April 2012.

At the time, union officials said 78 of 84 eligible employees voted to join the union, with six abstaining.

ACTI currently has 105 employees, 81 of whom are in the bargaining unit.

The firm uses high-temperature autoclaves, advanced clean-room environments, high-level assembly operations and machining techniques.

With more than 75,000 square feet of manufacturing space, it supplies advanced structural composite assemblies and components.

ACTI’s major contracts are with Boeing, Bombardier Aerospace and Lockheed Martin, with its products used in the manufacture of the F-22 and F-35 aircraft.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 09. 2013 6:17PM
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