The Boeing Co. (Seattle, Wash.) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) on Oct. 27 announced they have reached tentative agreement on a new four-year contract covering 27,000 employees in Washington, Oregon and Kansas. Union leadership is recommending that employees vote to ratify the contract.
The company retained the flexibility necessary to manage its business, while making changes to the contract language to address the union's issues on job security, pay and benefits. The offer provides general wage increases every year and increases pension benefits. In addition, Boeing is proposing no changes to the cost share employees currently pay for a selection of outstanding health care plans.
"This is an outstanding offer that rewards employees for their contributions to our success while preserving our ability to compete," said Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "I thank both negotiating teams and the federal mediator for their hard work and commitment in reaching this agreement. We recognize the hardship a strike creates for everyone -- our customers, suppliers, employees, community and our company -- and we look forward to having our entire team back."
In a statement issued by the IAMAW, the group said the contract will provide job security for its members and limit the amount of work outside vendors can perform in the workplace.
The agreement was hammered out over a five-day period with assistance from federal mediators and participation at the bargaining table by IAM International president Tom Buffenbarger and IAM General vice president Rich Michalski. Additional resources and technical support was provided by various departments at IAM headquarters.
Job security and the use of suppliers were key issues in the strike that began on Sept. 6, 2008. Among the other issues resolved in the latest round of bargaining were wage rates, health care benefits for current and future employees, pension improvements and work rule changes designed to improve productivity.
Full details of the 4-year accord will be withheld until they can be compiled and distributed to IAM members in all Boeing locations.
The tentative agreement has the unanimous endorsement of the IAM negotiating committee and will be presented to members for a ratification vote, which will take place in 3-5 days. A simple majority is required to ratify the tentative agreement.
“This tentative agreement is the result of hard work and great sacrifice by many people,” said IAM aerospace coordinator Mark Blondin. “But no one deserves more credit than the workers at Boeing, who conducted themselves with dignity and determination throughout this ordeal. On behalf of the entire negotiating committee, I want to say it has been our honor to serve as their representatives.”