Lost in the striking words and pictures surrounding the debut of this week's Paris Air Show and the continuing U.S.-EU battle over subsidies for large commercial aircraft is the fact that Boeing Co. opened contract negotiations on June 10 in Seattle with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
The current collective bargaining agreement -- which covers about 23,000 Boeing employees in the Puget Sound area, Wichita, Kan., and Portland, Ore. -- expires at midnight on Sept. 1. So-called main-table negotiations begin on August 15.
Health care costs are expected to be a major issue, with Boeing saying, "To remain competitive, win new airplane orders and maintain jobs, we need to manage health care costs."
In November, Boeing is scheduled to begin separate negotiations with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. The current contract covers about 22,000 Boeing employees.