Boeing's Labor Pact Requires Union Input To Cut Costs

At first blush, the agreement between Seattle-based Boeing Co. and its 44,000 union employees appears to be heavily tilted toward the union. The members of the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers get an 11% pay increase over three years, a 10% signing bonus, and a guarantee that no workers would be laid off due to subcontracting. Boeing also retreated on its attempt to eliminate premium pay for weekend work and to have union members pay for part of their health insurance premiums. However, Boeing still retained the right to shift work to less expensive outside suppliers and the right to lay off workers in the face of weak demand. In essence, the contract simply says that Boeing must work first with its union employees in an effort to lower costs together. And, if that fails, the airplane manufacturer could outsource the work or move it.

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