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Fri, Oct 10, 2008

Report: Boeing, IAM Heading Back To Bargaining Table

Mediated Talks May Resume This Weekend

The New York Times reports contract talks between Boeing and its largest union will resume as soon as this weekend, in an attempt to end a five-week strike which is costing the company $100 million a day, and no doubt pinching the holiday season plans of many union families.

The Times reports the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers announced the step in e-mail and text messages to its 27,000 members at Boeing. The two sides have been far apart on a few issues, especially on the issue of outsourcing work.

Doug Kight, Boeing's VP of human resources, issued a statement, in which he said a federal mediator will facilitate the talks.

"We are interested in exploring whether there is a path forward to resolve the strike," he said. "There are a number of issues to resolve, and any agreement must allow us to remain competitive and provide the flexibility to manage our business."

Earlier this week, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Scott Carson told managers the company would resume discussions, "...when the union focuses on its critical few priorities, and only then can we begin to narrow the wide gap in our positions."

The number of union machinists employed by the company has dropped roughly in half in the past decade. The company says those which remain average about $56,000 a year in base pay, $10,000 more in overtime pay, and the value of health care and benefits pushes the value of annual compensation to an average of about $91,500 per machinist.

As ANN reported, IAM struck the American planemaker September 6... three days after its members voted overwhelmingly against Boeing's latest contract offer, and walk off the job.



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