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Long Beach Workers Say No To Boeing Contract Offer

Union Votes Down Staff Cuts

Aerospace workers in Long Beach, CA tasked with assembling Boeing's C-17 Globemaster III military transport plane overwhelmingly rejected a three-year contract offer this weekend, due to proposed staffing cuts.

"It was an overwhelming turnout," Jacki Harris, president of the United Aerospace Workers Local 148, told the Long Beach Press-Telegram regarding the 974 to 245 vote Saturday. "We stood together as a union, and we cannot accept a contract that eliminates 20 percent of our work force."

Boeing maintains the contract submitted for union approval on April 25 was its "best and final offer." It included $19,000 in additional compensation in the form of pay increases and cost-of-living adjustments, payable over three years, for each of the 2,100 workers employed at the Long Beach facility... and a $4,000 lump sum payment upfront.

Harris said union members couldn't stomach Boeing's call to cut jobs at Long Beach, however, calling the contract "subpar" and a threat to superiority concerns.

"We're certainly committed to hearing the union out on issues," Boeing spokesman Rick Sanford, declining to comment further until Boeing's negotiation team meets Monday afternoon.

As Aero-News has reported, the Long Beach facility faces an uncertain future, due to questions over sustained production of the C-17. Boeing's production contract with the US Air Force, the largest customer for the aircraft, is due to expire within two years.

Unless the company can guarantee 16 orders per year for the large transport, Boeing has said the line could close for good after 2009.

FMI: www.boeing.com, www.uaw.org

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