Machinists Union Members Strike Boeing for Pensions and Health Care

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Machinists Union members voted overwhelmingly to strike Boeing last week. Their vote centered on issues of pensions, health care and job security.

Last weeks' vote by Boeing Machinists should not have come as a surprise to Boeing executives, in spite of the cash incentives presented by the corporation. The IAM's broader view of quality of life benefits - one that encompasses pension, health care and job security - made the corporation's offer hard to swallow.

"This strike is not about economics, but a corporate strategy to break the workers who have built this Company. There is no reason for any takeaways in this round of bargaining, and the contract is filled with them," said Mark Blondin, President of Machinists District 751. "The economic and benefit package is less than what was offered in 2002, even though Boeing profits have tripled in the last three years."

The Union had three top issues and Boeing refused to address any of them.

  • On our top issue of pension, the $6 increase is the lowest percentage increase since the plan was established in 1955.
  • In health care, Boeing proposed huge takeways with monthly premiums nearly three times higher, as well as increased co-pays and deductibles.
  • Boeing refused to offer any sort of job security language despite increased orders and production rates projected well beyond this contract and instead offered language to eliminate more jobs.
  • There are takeaways throughout the offer such as:
  • Eliminating retiree medical for new hires
  • Cutting Wichita out of the economic package
  • Multiple machine operation to cut out three of four jobs
  • Reducing medical benefits after layoff from six months to three months

"This is the same fight all across America – to maintain the standard of living for working families who generate the profits for the corporate elite. Those at the top are not giving back and neither should our members," stated Blondin. "Boeing refused to bargain fairly about our needs and, instead, threw money hoping to buy their workers with cash incentives. Our members showed they have true ethics and integrity by rejecting this offer."

"This strike did not have to occur. We made our top issues clear months ago and simply asked Boeing to do the right thing for their workforce. What they offered was dead wrong. The Union is ready to sit down and negotiate a fair agreement at any time and any place, as soon as Boeing is ready to do the right thing and address our members' issues. Until then, our members will be on the picket lines, and Boeing won't have any planes to deliver. For how long, depends entirely on Boeing," Blondin added.

For update regarding the strike, visit []

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Connie Kelliher
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