Boeing Machinists Ratify 4 Year Deal

By: Natasha Trelfa Email
By: Natasha Trelfa Email

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10:30 p.m. Saturday:

Boeing machinists in Seattle, Portland and Wichita have ratified a four year contract offer from the company. Spokesman Bob Wood says 74% of the union membership who voted agreed to accept the deal.

The new contract is unusual in that it is a four year deal. Most aviation contracts are for three years. Among other things, the contract calls for 15% pay raises over the life of the deal.
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2pm Saturday:

Boeing machinists in Wichita have concluded voting on the company's latest contract offer. Voting ended at 2 p.m. Saturday. however, results won't be announced until at least 10:30 Central Time.

Machinists in Seattle, where more than 25,000 employees are on strike, are allowed to vote until 8 p.m. Pacific Time, which is 10 p.m. Central Time.

Union authorities are expected to make an announcement as to whether machinists voted to accept or reject the contract shortly after the Seattle polls close.

Stay with KAKE News and kake.com for the results as soon as they're announced.
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10:00 p.m. Friday:
As machinist workers in Wichita prepare to vote on Boeing's contract, most say they're comfortable with some improvements, especially to issues like job security and pension increases. Those are areas that have caused major speed bumps during negotiations.

"I'm pretty sure that the union heads have said this contract has been worked out and recommended, so they're the people that have looked it over with good scrutiny," said Mike Nuetzel, a Boeing machinist.

Boeing machinists in Seattle, Portland and Wichita could be just hours away from hanging up their strike vests, walking off the picket lines and getting back into work. However, that moment will come only if a majority gives the thumbs up to the company's latest contract offer.

"I think the general opinion here in Wichita is that we're going to go ahead and accept," said Nuetzel.

Highlights of the latest agreement would secure medical costs from 2002 to avoid extra out-of-pocket expenses and adds a general wage increase of 15 percent over the four year life the contract. But the biggest issues, many workers said, were items like job security and retirement benefits, areas that stalled negotiations just weeks ago.

"I feel like it's been addressed to an extent, but maybe not the way everybody would like it, but you're never going to please everybody," said John Lowe, who's also a Boeing machinist.

The new offer would stop Boeing from chipping away at jobs and instead secures over 5,000 positions in parts delivery and facility maintenance. It also states the union can bid for work being outsourced to non-union Boeing facilities. The contract includes language from 2005, preserving coverage for existing retirees, instead of removing them, endangering their coverage.

"They made increases for us and the subcontracting was a big deal," said Nuetzel.

"I don't think there's anything we weren't expecting. I think most of the people have and through it and feel comfortable with what's there," said Lowe.

While workers said they'll have to look to Seattle, who carries the bulk of the weight in this vote, they hope this is the contract that will get them back in the door and back to work.

"It's been a long strike," Lowe said. "I would like to say I hope it's over, but I'm not sure."

Machinists will gather and hand out strike checks at the Best Western airport at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Union leaders will go over the details of the contract at 11:00. Voting will last until 2 p.m. A majority vote would approve the contract and, if it is accepted, machinists will return to work beginning Sunday.

Stay with KAKE news for complete coverage of the vote all day Saturday on KAKE News at 6 and 10, as well as here on kake.com.


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