By Kim Wilhelm (WICHITA, Kan.)
At 12:01 am Monday morning, machinists at Hawker Beechcraft already had a strike line up. Over the weekend, the union overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer and voted to go on strike. The old contract expired at midnight.
Strikers gathered at plant entrances, holding signs and yelling. They blocked the entrance for a brief amount of time before letting other employees drive into the company parking lot. While many of the people who showed up for work Monday morning were management and non-union personnel, some strikers say they spotted their coworkers among the drivers coming to work.
"I am very angry that there are people going through here that I've been friends with for years," said striker Sherry Hawkins. "When I see them out on the street, I really don't know how I'm going to react to them."
Strikers yelled "Go Home!" and "Scab!" to many of the drivers. Wichita police and Hawker Beechcraft security officers were on-site to monitor the situation.
Hawker Beechcraft officials would not say how many machinists crossed the picket line to work Monday. There are 4700 machinists represented in the union.
The company and union are fighting over pay, pension and healthcare benefits. Strikers say they'll walk the picket line as long is necessary. The company maintains the offer is fair.
No word on when the two sides will return to the negotiating table.