Monday, October 27, 2008

BREAKING: IAM and Boeing reach tentative deal

Just out on the wires:

"SEATTLE - A Machinists union spokesman has reported a tentative settlement to end a strike that has shut down Boeing Co.'s commercial airplane operations since Sept. 6.
Francis "Frank" Larkin, a spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Washington, D.C., told The Associated Press the deal was reached Monday evening.
Boeing spokesman Tim Healy in Seattle says he's checking on the report. The apparent breakthrough came on the fifth day of talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in the nation's capital.
Full details were not immediately available, but according to the union's Web site, it's a four-year deal. A vote will take place in three-to-five days, once all members have had a chance to look it over.
IAM workers went on strike Sept. 6, three days after Boeing's last offer was rejected with an 87 percent strike vote. Two days of last-ditch talks to avoid a strike failed, and another round of negotiations this month collapsed in the second day.
The union represents about 25,000 workers in and around Seattle, 1,500 in Gresham, Ore., and 750 in Wichita, Kan. Key issues include job security, wages, retirement benefits and medical coverage.
But the Machinists union isn't the only one locking horns with the Boeing Company these days.
SPEEA, the union representing engineers and technical workers also has more than 20,000 members in Puget Sound. Contract talks will enter their final phase at a Seattle-area hotel Tuesday. SPEEA's two contracts, one covering professionals and the other hourly technical workers, expire Dec. 1
“If they present a last, best and final offer that doesn't reward these employees for the success they brought to the company, they may very well vote to strike,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA Executive Director.Take the issue of outsourcing. It's not only a big issue for Machinists who want to keep outside contractors out of the plants, but also for engineers, only the issue is different.
For example, SPEEA says the company tried to outsource too much engineering work on the 787, not to mention most of the parts, leading to more than a year-and-a-half’s worth of delays. The engineers want a say in the next airplane.
“That the engineering and technical employees have a serious voice in how it's set up. There are components of these planes where it makes sense to outsource and some components where it doesn't make sense to outsource,” said Goforth.
SPEEA has only had one major strike -- 40 days in 2000. The company says it is optimistic a deal can be reached in the next few weeks and a strike averted.
“We feel we have a process that works. It's worked the past couple of contracts. In fact, the contracts Boeing's offered has been approved by 80 percent of the voters,” said Boeing spokeswoman Karen Fincutter. "

Also read IAM press release about the settlement here.

No comments: