Boeing workers returning after long, costly strike

Boeing Machinists union member Michael Olebar delivers ballots to fellow union members Karla and Patrick Kingsella at the International Association of Machinists union hall in Seattle Saturday.

Associated Press

Boeing Machinists union member Michael Olebar delivers ballots to fellow union members Karla and Patrick Kingsella at the International Association of Machinists union hall in Seattle Saturday.

SEATTLE — Factories at Boeing Co. were due to start humming again Sunday after Machinists union members voted to end a costly eight-week strike that clipped profits and stalled deliveries by the world's No. 2 commercial airplane maker.

Workers were expected to return Sunday night to Boeing's commercial airplane factories, which have been closed since the Sept. 6 walkout. The strike cost an estimated $100-million a day in deferred revenue and production delays on the company's highly anticipated next-generation passenger jet.

Machinists union members ended their walkout on Saturday by ratifying a new contract. Members of the union, which represents about 27,000 workers at plants in Washington state, Oregon and Kansas, voted about 74 percent in favor of the proposal.

"This contract gives the workers at Boeing an opportunity to share in the extraordinary success this company has achieved over the past several years," Mark Blondin, the union's aerospace coordinator and chief negotiator, said in a union statement.

"It also recognizes the need to act with foresight to protect the next generation of aerospace jobs. These members helped make Boeing the company it is today, and they have every right to be a part of its future," he said.

The union has said the contract protects more than 5,000 factory jobs, prevents the outsourcing of certain positions and preserves health care benefits. It also promises pay increases over four years rather than three, as outlined in earlier offers.

The union members, including electricians, painters, mechanics and other production workers, lost an average of about $7,000 in base due to the strike.

It was the union's fourth strike against Boeing in two decades and its longest since 1995. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers staged strikes against Boeing for 24 days in 2005, 69 days in 1995 and 48 days in 1989.

"We're looking forward to having our team back together to resume the work of building airplanes for our customers," Scott Carson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive, said in a statement. "This new contract addresses the union's job security issues while enabling Boeing to retain the flexibility needed to run the business … and allows us to remain competitive."

The walkout came amid surging demand for Boeing's commercial jetliners. Chicago-based Boeing, which ranks as the world's second-largest commercial airplane maker after Europe's Airbus, has said its order backlog has swollen to a record $349-billion in value.

Boeing workers returning after long, costly strike 11/02/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2010 10:48am]

    

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