By Pilar Pedraza
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
8:14 PM CDT, October 14, 2012
"The morale is high. We feel like we're fighting for the right things," said union spokesman Bob Wood. "And we're just fighting for what's fair."
The Machinists Union prepares to enter week two of its strike against Bombardier Learjet in Wichita. They went on strike last Monday, mainly over the health care options in the new five year contract Bombardier proposed. Now they say they're ready to stay on the picket lines for as long as it takes.
The mood on the picket lines, for now, is relaxed and lighthearted. One man brought his bagpipes along to the strike to entertain his fellow workers. Along with deliveries of pizza and pop from supporters, it combined for an almost party-like atmosphere, an attempt to show just how secure the strikers are in their position and the preparations they've made.
Several workers say they've been saving up for the strike and are ready for it to last months. But they're not just sitting around. Many are looking for part-time or temporary jobs, with the union's help.
"It's definitely open for them to find employment somewhere else, to do things on the side as well," said Dave Strum, a 16 year veteran at Bombardier. "Weather's still holding up so far as well. So it should be, ah, should be fairly easy for now."
"You certainly have to prepare for as long as it takes," added Bob Wood, the union's spokesperson.
Union leadership says it's stayed in contact with Bombardier this last week but there's been no move toward a return to the negotiating table.
KWCH did try to reach Bombardier on Sunday to find out what they have to say about the strike now. But, being a weekend, no one has responded. Before the union voted to strike, Bombardier said its proposed five year contract was the best it could offer given the current economy.
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