Machinists at Boeing vote on new contract

Machinists Union members at Boeing Co. voted on a tentative contract Sept. 1. Results were not available at press time.

However, the union's negotiating committee recommended the offer, which came at 2 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, just days before a strike was to begin.

"I've never believed in miracles but a miracle stepped in front of us," said Bill Johnson, president of Machinists District Lodge 751 in Seattle and a member of the negotiating team.�

That "miracle," IAM representatives said, was Boeing chief executive officer Phil Condit, who stepped in during the 11th-hour and single-handedly reversed the progress and tone of talks, spurring a proposal that addressed the union's five priority issues.

"We believe it is one of the best contracts in the aerospace industry," IAM negotiators said.

The tentative contract provides for a 10 percent lump sum payment payable Oct. 15 and general wage increases of 4 percent in each of the first two years and 3 percent in the third year, with a 22-cent accumulated cost-of-living-adjustment rolled into the base wage rates effective Sept. 2.

The contract contains no increases in health insurance co-payments or deductibles. Boeing increased maximum recall rights to six years, with no layoffs due to subcontracting. Joint committees will be established to review subcontracting and the company is required to give the union a 180-day notice prior to signing any subcontracting agreement.

The 44,000 Machinists who work at Boeing (1,400 at the Gresham, Ore. plant) voted on the pact Sept. 1 at various locations in Washington, Oregon and Kansas. The ballot has two parts. Members must check one box to ratify the proposal or another to reject it.�Then they must vote to either reaffirm or reject the union's authority to strike.�Even if a majority of those voting reject the offer, the contract is accepted unless two-thirds vote to strike.

September 3, 1999 issue

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