A strike by Boeing machinists extended with little hope of a quick solution on Oct. 14 after talks broke off with both sides holding firm on their proposals. The strike since September 6 has been estimated cost Boeing more than $100 million per day and is likely to delay the 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
"We worked very hard to find solutions, and we are extremely disappointed that the talks broke off," said Doug Kight, Boeing vice president of human resources. "We want to resolve this strike so employees can return to work, but we cannot sacrifice our ability to continuously improve productivity and our long-term competitiveness for an agreement. Given current economic conditions, it is now more important than ever that we retain the ability to respond to a dynamic, uncertain environment."
Tom Wroblewski, president of the International Association of Machinists Local 751, said the union was maintaining its fight to keep its jobs from being outsourced. "The company is attempting to put the union in an unacceptable position to bargain away our members' jobs," he said. "It has become apparent that the long-term strategy of The Boeing Company is to eliminate these IAM positions and replace the union workers with outside suppliers. The words 'flexibility' and 'competitiveness' for Boeing appear to mean eliminating IAM jobs."
Boeing's 27,000 machinists, who represent 16% of the company's workforce, have been on strike four times in the last two decades.
Already delayed by nearly two years, Boeing now plans the Dreamliner's first delivery in the third quarter of 2009, after pushing it back three times because of technical and supply problems.
Union officials say the strike has cost Boeing $3.8 billion over 39 days.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008