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Tue, May 22, 2007

Machinists From Boeing-St Louis Accept Final Contract Offer

Boeing Leaves Classification Proposal On Table

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 837 representing machinists employed by Boeing-St. Louis announced it accepted the planemaker's final offer Sunday... but just barely.

The final vote was 951 to accept the deal, versus 883 to reject it. The union says the close vote indicates many members are unhappy with the contract... but taking the deal was better for all than a protracted strike.

"It tells them that come Monday morning, we're going to have a lot of unhappy folks," Ricky Smith, president of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 837, told the Associated Press. "To ask our members to go on strike for three weeks, six weeks or six months -- we didn't feel like there was anything in there that warranted that."

The new three-year contract took effect at 12:01 am Monday, and is set to expire on June 13, 2010, according to the union.

As ANN reported, the contract includes a four percent general wage increase the first year and a three percent general wage increase the third year. A $2500 lump sum payment will be made to each employee in the first and second years of the contract.

A new formula for pensions was also agreed upon, increasing to $70 per month per year of service from $60. Newly hired employees will remain in the defined pension plan and receive a new 401K package as well. The portion of the Healthcare premium paid by employees could possibly increase to 12 percent but does have upper limit caps associated with it.

Boeing left a proposal on the table adding five new classifications in five separate labor grades. The new classifications will be able to do the work of the traditional classifications, however; the new classifications cannot be populated if any traditional is in lay-off status.

"This contract recognizes the contributions employees have made to the company's success and addresses today's business realities so that Boeing St. Louis can remain competitive in the years ahead," said Steve Jacques, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems vice president of manufacturing and lead for the STL negotiations.

During a last minute concession by Boeing, it was further agreed traditional job classifications within labor grades will be given first priority in shift preference. The union fought Boeing's request to exempt less-experienced (and, thus, less expensive to employ) workers from layoffs, providing Boeing could prove they had skills considered necessary for production.

The concession is intended to insure workers with seniority are given due consideration, should layoffs be announced.

FMI: www.iam837.org, www.boeing.com/ids

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