Friday, September 5, 2008

Almost 27,000 Boeing workers to strike

A statement from Boeing on Friday (local time), said mediated talks between the firm and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) ended without agreement. The union vowed to strike from 12:01am on Saturday (local time).

"Over the past two days, Boeing, the union and the federal mediator worked hard in pursuing good-faith explorations of options that could lead to an agreement," Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Scott Carson said.

"Unfortunately the differences were too great to close."

In a statement on its website, the IAM confirmed the strike would begin, flatly blaming Boeing for the failure of negotiations.

"The strike will commence at one minute after midnight tonight," the statement said. "This company disrespected the process, bargained illegally and most of all, disrespected the finest aerospace workers anywhere on the planet by failing to meet your expectations," the statement said.

"Despite meeting late into the night and throughout the day, continued contract talks with the Boeing Company did not address our issues."

Boeing says non-IAM members are expected to report for work as normal.

The aircraft says customers and their airplanes in service will continue to receive support during the work stoppage.

The company will also deliver planes completed prior to the strike but does not intend to assemble airplanes during the shutdown.

Boeing made a contract offer on August 28 providing employees with about $42,000 on average in additional annual wages and incentive payments over a three-year period, including an overall 11 per cent wage increase.

The current contract expired on Wednesday (local time).

However the IAM says Boeing must fix "takeaways" in its proposal and address the issues its members have identified, including job security, medical coverage, wages and pension benefits.

The strike could cost Boeing an estimated $148 million a day in revenues at the company's current level of production, analysts at Jefferies investment bank said.


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