Boeing Machinists Return to Work

Nov. 3, 2008
Contract includes wage increases of 15% over four years, an immediate 16% pension increase, and lump-sum payments of at least $8,000

After voting by a large majority to end a 58-day strike, Boeing machinists returend to work on Nov. 2, the company said. Some 27,000 employees in the states of Washington, Oregon and Kansas returned to their jobs beginning with the third shift on November 2, a day after the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union announced an end to the crippling strike.

"We're looking forward to having our team back together to resume the work of building airplanes for our customers," Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Scott Carson said. "This new contract addresses the union's job security issues while enabling Boeing to retain the flexibility needed to run the business. It rewards employees for their contribution to our success with industry-leading pay and benefits and allows us to remain competitive."

After federally mediated talks, union members voted to back the deal with a 74% majority, the IAM said. "Our union has delivered what few Americans have -- economic certainty and quality benefits for the next four years." It also said it "recognizes the need to act with foresight to protect the next generation of aerospace jobs."

The union said medical benefits would remain unchanged through 2012.

The new contract is for four years, longer than Boeing has typically negotiated with the IAM, which adds to long-term stability for Boeing, its employees, customers, suppliers and communities.

Boeing said the contract calls for general wage increases of 15% over the four years, an immediate 16% pension increase, and lump-sum payments of at least $8,000.

The strike was estimated by some analysts to be costing the company more than $100 million per day and risked further delaying the launch of Boeing's new passenger jet, the 787 Dreamliner. Boeing's 27,000 machinists, who represent 16% of the company's workforce, began picketing on September 6 after last-ditch contract talks broke down.

Hurt by the strike, Dreamliner delays and a difficult economic environment, Boeing last week announced a 38% fall in third-quarter net profit.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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