Wed, Aug 27, 2008
Analysts Predict Strike Is Looming
The clock is ticking down to the end of Boeing's contract with
the International Association of Machinists. The union has decided
to strike against Boeing three times in the last 20 years.
As ANN reported, Boeing met with union
officials last week, in one last effort to hash out a new contract
and avoid a crippling strike. At this writing, both sides are still
holed up in an hotel conference room near Sea-Tac.
How likely a strike is this time depends on who you talk to.
Reuters quotes union officials as calling Boeing's latest contract
offer "insulting," and the negotiations "tense."
The company is offering a pay increase of 2.5 percent the first
year and two percent in each of the following two years. Instead of
continuing to offer its traditional pension plan, Boeing wants to
switch new hires instead to a defined retirement benefit plan.
Union spokeswoman Connie Kelliher says the IAM made a
counterproposal Saturday, calling for a substantial increase to
pension and health-care benefits. "The company needs to get serious
and offer a proposal that gives our members the improvements that
they deserve," Kelliher said.
Industry observers predict a crippling strike next week, but
Boeing's Tim Healy suggests those observers have been paying too
much attention to the union's rhetoric. "Discussions have been
good. We still remain optimistic that we can give a final offer by
the Labor Day weekend," Healy said.
Boeing was expected to make a best and final offer Monday, with
a union ratification vote September 3. Much is at stake. A halt in
new aircraft deliveries would cost the company about $3 billion a
month in revenue.
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