Sixteen civilian workers from Joint Logistics Managers Inc. at the Rock Island Arsenal went on a 24-hour strike Thursday.
Paul Phelps, one of the strikers, said the workers have been without a contract since July 1 and only have been offered a deal that would take away all their sick days, give no raises for five years and reduce health benefits.
The workers picketed at the Moline, Rock Island and Davenport entrances to the island on Thursday, beginning at 5:30 a.m.
JLMI is a logistics company headquartered in Virginia that has a contract to service forklifts and perform transportation duties at the Arsenal, said Howard Spoon, president of Teamster Local 371, which represents the striking workers.
"Hopefully, this will send a message to the company that we are serious," Mr. Spoon said. "We just want a fair contract."
Mr. Spoon said the workers could go on a longer strike in coming weeks if they don't get the response they are looking for from JLMI management.
The 16 workers who are part of the collective bargaining unit at JLMI voted on Sept. 23 to take strike action if necessary, he said.
Mr. Phelps, a mechanic, has worked on the Arsenal for 25 years. JLMI won a contract previously held by Pacific Architects and Engineers, or PAE, in July, taking on the union employees.
JLMI has hired labor attorney Arthur Eggers of the Moline law firm of Califf and Harper PC for the negotiations with workers. Mr. Eggers was unavailable on Thursday, but previously said he does not comment on pending negotiations.
JLMI operates under the Directorate of Logistics for the Rock Island Arsenal, said Army Sustainment Command spokesman Dan Carlson.
"The company (JLMI) and the union would negotiate a labor agreement separately from us (ASC)," he said.
Mr. Spoon has filed three grievances with the National Labor Relations Board related to alleged unfair labor practices by JLMI. As the complaints have yet to adjudicated, Mr. Spoon said he could not provide details on the allegations.
Today is Monday, Dec. 9, the 343rd day of 2013. There are 22 days left in the year. 1863 — 150 years ago: All last week were favored with the most delightful Indian summer weather. The mercury ranged from 40 to 65 degrees and the ice is entirely gone out of the river. 1888 — 125 years ago: W.D. Reimers was given charge of the Weyerhaeuser-Denkmann mill in Davenport. 1913 — 100 years ago: Eight hundred or more tons of earth in six landslides, covered 38th Street for a distance of 200 feet near 7th Avenue and destroyed much property. 1938 — 75 years ago: Patrolman Joseph H. Schnelder, of Moline, has been awarded four medals for proficiency in marksmanship. He is the crack pistol shot of the Rock Island district. 1963 — 50 years ago: For the 83rd year, George Frederic Handel's "Messiah" was performed at Augustana College ushering in the spiritual aspect of the Christmas season. 1988 — 25 years ago: A water main break Thursday night, the fourth this week, affected 35 homes near the 2200 block of 39th Street, Rock Island, city officials said today.