IAM, Boeing resume contract talks

Washington DC
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Boeing and the International Association of Machinists (IAM) have agreed to re-enter negotiations for the first time since a five-week old strike began on 6 September.

The strike has cost Boeing an estimated $100 million a day and set back progress on new aircraft programs, such as the 787, 747-8 Freighter and 777 Freighter.

"We are interested in exploring whether there is a path forward to resolve the strike," said Doug Kight, Boeing's vice president of Human Resources. "There are a number of issues to resolve, and any agreement must allow us to remain competitive and provide the flexibility to manage our business."

About 87% of IAM's members voted to strike over negotiations failed to resolve disputes on job security and benefits. Boeing offered workers an 11% raise over three years.

However, blocking Boeing's outsourcing strategy on the 787 from expanding to other programs has been a key goal for the union.

Even as the IAM strike continues, Boeing is also preparing to enter formal talks in two weeks with the company's second largest union - the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA).

SPEEA's leadership is also fiercely opposed to Boeing's outsourcing strategy, which has moved key engineering assignments on the 787 to industrial partners in Italy and Japan.

Main table negotiations with SPEEA open on 27 October, with a best a final offer scheduled to be presented on 11 November. The current contract expires on 1 December.