Breaking News: Tentative Deal, IAM-Boeing

8:00 PM PDT

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Aerospace writer James Wallace has one of the first, comprehensive reports following the tentative settlement between the IAM and Boeing.

Bloomberg News has this report.

9:00 PD PDT: So where do things go from here? On the earnings call, Boeing CFO James Bell said it could take as long as two months to ramp up to pre-strike production levels. This would be during the Christmas holidays, and just before the January timeline SPEEA likes for its own strike, should it come to that.

A strike by SPEEA doesn’t have the same hurdle to jump over that the IAM does. A two-thirds vote by IAM members is necessary to strike (reminder: the vote was 87%); for SPEEA, a strike vote only requires a simple majority.

Obviously, Boeing doesn’t need another strike, regardless of how long or short it may be. The pressure will be on Boeing to reach an accord with SPEEA and avoid a strike. Obviously Boeing wants to avoid a strike; after this IAM event, how much pressure will there be on Boeing to avoid one with SPEEA?

6:15 PM PDT:

Boeing and the IAM reached a tentative settlement after five days of talks that went well into the evening October 27 in Washington, DC. We immediately posted the IAM’s statement and by 7:10 PM, we were still waiting for the Boeing statement.

The breakthrough is good news for Boeing, the IAM and the customers. It will take 3-5 days for a vote to be taken, by which time the strike will be ending its eighth week.

No details will be immediately released, so we don’t know where the give was on either side.

Undoubtedly, this new contract will form the basis for the SPEEA negotiations, which were to start tomorrow and which were postponed for one day in order to conclude the IAM talks.

Wall Street analysts were nearly unanimous in thinking the strike could last through November and perhaps even into December.

SPEEA’s contract expires December 1 and this union’s leadership already said it would not strike while the IAM was out. The leadership also said any strike would most likely come in January or February.

With a tentative IAM settlement sooner rather than later, perhaps this bodes well for the SPEEA negotiations.

Whenever a Boeing statement is issued, we’ll add it below.

7:50 PM PDT: Here is Boeing’s short statement:

Boeing, IAM Reach Tentative Agreement on New Contract

SEATTLE, Oct. 27, 2008 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers today 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.”

By mutual agreement, details of the agreement will be released first by the union. If employees vote to approve the offer, it will end the strike by approximately 27,000 employees in Washington, Oregon and Kansas.

From the IAM (6:15 PM PDT):

Update October 27, 2008 – Machinists in Tentative Deal with Boeing

NOTE: Details on the agreement will be posted on the website tomorrow.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced today that it reached a tentative agreement with the Boeing Company on a contract that 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 vendors 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.

“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 3rd. Your solidarity brought Boeing back to the table and made this Company address your issues,” stated District 751 President Tom Wroblewski. “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.”

“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.”

2 Comments on “Breaking News: Tentative Deal, IAM-Boeing

  1. The offer is disgraceful! It is quite clear this strike was planned! Let the company get caught up and blame delays on the union employees. Then give them this rediculous offer! I hope the strike goes on and that the engineering union joins them!

  2. Pingback: Assessing the settlement « Leeham News and Comment

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