Boeing strike end as workers approves contract

A four-week Boeing Co. strike ended as Machinists approved a new labor contract.

About 80 percent of those voting accepted the three-year pact, said Mark Blondin, president of Machinists District Lodge 751. Approval cleared the way for workers to return to their jobs as early as Thursday night.

A simple majority was needed to accept the offer. Union leaders had recommended that membership vote for the deal, saying it addressed key issues pensions and health care benefits.

The average Machinist represented by the contract is 49 years old and makes about $59,000 (Ђ48,910) a year.

The strike by about 18,400 Machinists began Sept. 2.

Under the new contract, workers will see no changes to current health care premiums. Pension payouts will increase by nearly 17 percent, to $70 (Ђ58) per month for every year worked.

Instead of any general wage increase, the revised offer gives Machinists in the Seattle area, Gresham, Oregon, and Wichita, Kansas, cash payouts of about $11,000 (Ђ9,119) over the three years. Boeing dropped a plan to offer incentive payments based on whether the company meets or exceeds financial targets.

"To me, this is a win," said Kent Sprague, 51, a Boeing machine repairman who voted for the contract. "I'm a little disappointed that Boeing didn't offer this initially," reports the AP.


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