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Archive for Monday, September 26, 2005

Boeing, Machinist union reach tentative agreement

September 26, 2005

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— The Boeing Co. and its Machinists union have reached a tentative contract agreement, which, if approved, would end a three-week strike that shut down the company's airplane production.

Mark Blondin, district president for Machinists District Lodge 751 in Seattle, confirmed the agreement Sunday and said union members would vote on the deal Thursday.

"I'm just proud of our membership," Blondin said. "They stood solid, unified, and that solidarity is what finally got the company to do the right thing."

Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers said the company believes the agreement is reasonable and reflects compromise on both sides.

According to Blondin, the deal calls for Boeing to make no changes to its current health care plan, despite huge increases in healthcare costs nationwide. That's a major change from the premium and other increases that Boeing had demanded.

Pension payouts for union members would increase to $70 per month for every year served, up from $60 currently; the previous offer was $66.

There would be no general wage increase, but workers would receive an 8 percent signing bonus, or about $5,000, plus $3,000 payouts in the second and third years of the contract, he said.

Blondin conceded Sunday that the union had hoped for a higher increase to pension payouts than is in the tentative agreement, but he said the fact that health care payouts wouldn't change was, in the end, better for workers.

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