The International Association of Machinists (IAM) has urged 27,000 Boeing employees to vote for a strike on 3 September, potentially creating a work stoppage only months before the scheduled first flight of the 787.

The call by IAM came after union leaders decided to reject Boeing's final offer presented on Thursday. Boeing's machinists now have five days, which includes the US Labour Day holiday weekend, to consider the offer for themselves. A vote is scheduled on 3 September, the day the current three-year contract expires.

Job security is the union's top concern, and was apparently left unaddressed in Boeing's final offer. In a message to members, IAM complained that the company failed to guarantee no layoffs despite a record backlog and three years of strong profits.

The union also wants a strike to "send a message" to Boeing management. IAM has accused Boeing of interrogating workers during the negotiations to intimidate them and undermine the union's position.

Boeing faces the union's ire despite withdrawing several of its most unpopular proposals in the final round of contract talks and offering a 14% overall raise over three years, including a cost of living adjustment.

A strike would bring the commercial aircraft production system to a halt. Boeing has estimated the stoppage would create a day-for-day delay for the 787 programme.

The company also has to negotiate a new contract with its engineering workforce later this year.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news