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Boeing, machinists hammer out new contract

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers announced Saturday that its members voted to ratify a new four-year contract with The Boeing Co. by 74 percent.

The new agreement covers 27,000 IAM members at Boeing facilities in Washington, Oregon, Kansas and California, and ends a strike that began Sept. 6. About 5,000 Machinists work in Boeing facilities in Renton. Another 370 work in Kent.

"We're looking forward to having our team back together to resume the work of building airplanes for our customers," said Scott Carson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO, in a news release. "This new contract addresses the union's job-security issues while enabling Boeing to retain the flexibility needed to run the business. It rewards employees for their contribution to our success with industry-leading pay and benefits and allows us to remain competitive."

Machinists were to begin returning to work as early as Sunday (for third-shift employees) and Monday for first- and second-shift employees.) Members have until the beginning of their respective shifts Nov. 10 to return to work, under the agreement, according to a union press release.

“Our union has delivered what few Americans have – economic certainty and quality benefits for the next four years. Each of you stood up and did your part to win this battle,” said District 751 President Tom Wroblewski. “Your solidarity brought Boeing back to the table and made this company address your issues. After 57 days of striking, we have gained important and substantial improvements over the company's offer that was rejected on Sept. 3. I am proud to be a member of the Machinists Union and want to thank our members for their solidarity and commitment.”

“This contract gives the workers at Boeing an opportunity to share in the extraordinary success this company has achieved over the past several years,” said Aerospace Coordinator Mark Blondin. “It also recognizes the need to act with foresight to protect the next generation of aerospace jobs. These members helped make Boeing the company it is today, and they have every right to be a part of its future.”

Among the many job security gains, the union reasserted its jurisdiction over the scope of work of bargaining unit represented jobs that were lost in the 2002 contract. The union members’ share of medical costs will remain unchanged from 2002 through 2012. In addition to the many monetary gains achieved in the new contract, the takeaway language in the company’s Sept. 3 proposal was withdrawn – retiree medical is preserved, survivor benefits are returned, reinstatement of seniority lost due to layoff is returned, promotional rights restored and the list goes on, according to a union press release.

Reach Dean A. Radford at 425-255-3484, Ext. 5050, or by e-mail at dradford@rentonreporter.com.

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