Boeing, Machinists will resume talks in monthlong strike
Boeing and the Machinists union will resume talks in the strike that has idled 27,000 for than a month.
Seattle Times aerospace reporter
Following a top-level meeting this afternoon, Boeing and the Machinists union have agreed to go back to the table and to resume contract negotiations — though the strike will continue.
International Association of Machinists (IAM) leaders Mark Blondin and Tom Wroblewski met in Everett with Boeing commercial airplanes chief executive Scott Carson, labor vice president Doug Kight and chief company negotiator Tom Easley.
The agreement comes on day 33 of the strike by 27,000 machinists, which has halted aircraft and parts production in the Puget Sound region, in Portland and in Wichita, Kan.
In an interview, Blondin said he didn't want to raise expectations too high.
"We want to keep it in perspective," he said. "Our members will be happy that we are back to the table. But if we bring something back, it's got to be something that meets their expectations."
Blondin said that in this afternoon's meeting, Carson focused on understanding the IAM's demands on job security.
"We went back and forth on where we are going to get this solved," said Blondin. "It's got to be solved around job security. And all the issues will play in. It's not going to be solved by press releases. So the comment was made, maybe we ought to be back at the table then."
Blondin said federal mediators will set up the new negotiations, probably "within the next two days," and will also facilitate the talks.
"We'll let the mediators be there. They may work between the parties or maybe face-to-face," said Blondin. "The mediation is good for assistance but the bottom line is the two parties have to come to agreement."
A Boeing source confirmed the two sides met today and will resume contract talks.
People familiar with the details said two unannounced meetings last week between the union leaders and Kight set the stage for today's breakthrough.
Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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