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Locked-Out Mechanics Union Warns About Ride Safety At Vallejo’s Six Flags Theme Park

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A roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom near Vallejo (sixflags.com)

A roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom near Vallejo (sixflags.com)

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VALLEJO (CBS SF) — For nearly a month the ride mechanics at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo have been locked out of their jobs. Now, those mechanics are warning the public the longer they are off the job, the less safe those rides will become.

The 24 ride mechanics were responsible for inspecting, repairing, and maintaining the rides. They claim the mechanics Six Flags has hired to replace them are untrained and unskilled.

Six Flags insists the rides are safe and issued the following statement:

‘We have not and will never compromise the safety of our guests and employees. All of our rides are being inspected and maintained by highly trained and certified individuals with years of experience. maintaining a safe environment is our top priority.’

“I wouldn’t put my children on these rides,” said union spokesman Tom Brandon.

On Friday afternoon, the Sky Screamer ride got stuck in mid-air. Management said the computer shut down the ride as a safety precaution after it detected something abnormal.

The stoppage lasted five minutes, no problems were found and the ride reopened 20 minutes later.

“I know that ride really well,” said locked-out ride mechanic Jeff Heineman. “To see people sitting there and not being able to get them down, it really pulls on your heartstrings.’

Negotiations broke down between Six Flags management and the mechanics’ union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, back in November 2012. The machinists said the offer didn’t address workers’ concerns over better training, safer working conditions and a proposed pay cut.

Since the lock-out, complaints have surfaced about rides breaking down and people getting stuck for long periods of time.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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