Boeing optimistic about labour talks for Puget Sound

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Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh has expressed optimism about labour negotiations next year with IAM 751, the local union that covers Boeing's Puget Sound operations.

Speaking at the annual Credit Suisse Aerospace conference, he said: "We've had strikes three out of the last four times we've been at the table and to me it was a lose-lose situation."

"I think going forward we understand that we want teamwork. We've worked very hard for them to understand the realities of the marketplace. We're not just competing against Airbus. We're competing against several newcomers," he said, referring to new airplanes being designed by Bombardier, Comac and Irkut which compete with the 737 family.

"We've also worked very hard to get them to understand what the potential is for Puget Sound. We've also listened to them on issues they have for security to their workforce. I think there are a lot of issues we are in alignment on.

"When you get into the details, it comes down to the financial package, which are sometimes a little thorny to work through," Albaugh said. "I am very confident that getting a deal is the right thing for the unions, the right thing for workers, it's the right thing for the customers and the right thing for the company. I'm optimistic we're going to get it done."

The contract expires in October of 2012 and the two sides have already opened communications "and we have a very good dialogue", he added.