Union Leaders Are "Cautiously Optimistic" Of Outcome
In an effort to end the stalemate between striking members of
the International Association of Machinists and the Boeing Company,
negotiators from both sides have agreed to resume talks with the
assistance of a federal mediator.
The union acknowledged Sunday that discussions with Boeing have
begun but said it will not provide further updates until the new
round of talks has concluded, reports the Everett (WA) Daily
In an update to members posted on the Machinists' website, union
leaders said, "We remain cautiously optimistic Boeing will
negotiate fairly and address members' issues. In the meantime, we
need members to keep the picket lines strong, as the strike
continues during these talks."
About 27,000 Machinists went on strike against Boeing on
September 6 when union members overwhelmingly rejected Boeing's
last contract offer.
Boeing previously offered an 11 percent general wage increase
over the next three years, with a minimum of $5,000 in bonuses in
the first year. But the union said Boeing's offer shifted more
health care costs onto members, didn't provide adequate pension
benefits, and didn't ease their concerns about outsourcing,
according to the paper.
With a record backlog of 3,700 jets, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney
said the strike has resulted in Boeing losing its position as a
reliable supplier for its airline customers. Last week, Boeing
officials emphatically reiterated the company's need to outsource
in order to stay competitive with Airbus, its biggest rival.
IAM leaders say they understand Boeing's need to outsource in
some instances to gain access to other markets, but the union wants
the opportunity to bid on work typically performed by union
On the picket lines in Everett, machinists are reportedly
sharing their union leaders' cautious optimism on the new round of
Members also revealed their frustration with Boeing executives
by renaming their Everett strike locations 'McNerneyville,' 'Carson
Heights' and 'Kight Acres' -- in "honor" of Boeing CEO Jim
McNerney, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Scott Carson,
and Boeing's lead negotiator Doug Kight.