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Originally published October 27, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 27, 2008 at 10:29 PM

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Boeing, Machinists reach tentative 4-year contract

Boeing and the Machinists union have agreed on a proposed contract that includes wage increases of 15 percent over four years. .

By Seattle Times staff

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Striking Boeing employees picket the Boeing employee entrance at Kasch Park Road at Airport Road in Everett late Monday afternoon. According to company and union negotiators, both sides have agreed on a proposed contract.

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MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Striking Boeing employees picket the Boeing employee entrance at Kasch Park Road at Airport Road in Everett late Monday afternoon. According to company and union negotiators, both sides have agreed on a proposed contract.

Negotiators for Boeing and the Machinists union have agreed on a proposed contract that could end the seven-week-old strike by 27,000 workers.

After meeting through the weekend, the negotiators Monday evening said they have hammered out a contract that will be voted on by the striking Machinists in the next three to five days.

A statement by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) said the agreement "will provide job security for its members and limit the amount of work outside vendors can perform in the workplace," an issue that led to an impasse when talks briefly resumed Oct. 13.

The union statement said the proposed contract would span four years. That's a year longer than previous Machinists contracts.

In a statement, Boeing said it has "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, Boeing said.

In addition, Boeing has backed away from changes to its health care plans that would have increased medical costs for employees, according to the company statement.

"This is an outstanding offer that rewards employees for their contributions to our success while preserving our ability to compete," said Scott Carson, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a statement. "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."

Full details of the offer "will be withheld until they can be compiled and distributed to IAM members in all Boeing locations," the union said.

"After 52 days of striking, we have gained important and substantial improvements over the company's last, best and final offer that was rejected on September 3," IAM District 751 President Tom Wroblewski said in the statement.

Addressing his striking membership, Wroblewski said, "Each of you stood up and did your part to win this battle, which was a fight against more than just Boeing, but against corporate America. Boeing is profitable because of our members' hard work and by standing together our members ensured they receive a bigger share of those profits."

Earlier Monday, Boeing's white-collar union, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), agreed to a company request to postpone the start of its contract talks by one day. Those talks had been scheduled to start Tuesday.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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