The pay and benefits of Wichita aircraft workers is in limbo again. Today contract talks start between Boeing and the machinists union. Even though union members are directly impacted the outcome will indirectly affect all aircraft workers. It's the nation's largest aerospace labor agreement.
It comes at a time when thousands of workers are being laid off in the plants as Boeing cuts its production rates in half. That's why job security is at the top of the union's wish list, followed by better retirement benefits and affordable health care.
The union hopes it can get contract improvements without a strike.
The question is, how much will workers be able to get from Boeing when the company's customers, the airlines, are cutting or delaying airplane orders? The answer won't come overnight. It will take weeks of negotiating before these two sides land at an agreement to submit to a union vote.