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Boeing machinists to vote January 3 on revised contract

Construction cranes and palm trees line the entrance at South Carolina Boeing in North Charleston, South Carolina December 19, 2013. REUTERS
Construction cranes and palm trees line the entrance at South Carolina Boeing in North Charleston, South Carolina December 19, 2013. REUTERS

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Unionized workers at Boeing Co will vote on January 3 on the company's latest proposed contract, according to a statement issued by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers on Sunday evening.

In November, machinists at the Everett, Washington plant where Boeing's 777 jet is built voted 2 to 1 against the company's initial offer.

Under that eight year contract, production of Boeing's next jet - the 777X - would have remained in Washington state. But in exchange, management wanted to replace the workers' pension plan with a 401(k)-style retirement savings account and raise healthcare costs.

In the aftermath of the vote, Boeing said it would look for other locations to build the 777X, the only jet the company is likely to develop in the next 15 years.

Boeing later made a revised offer that included a larger signing bonus and other concessions, and asked union leaders to endorse it. But the leaders of IAM District Lodge 751, which represents the 31,000 workers, refused endorse it or put it up for a vote, saying the changes were not significant enough.

Details of the new offer will be sent to IAM District 751, District W-24 and District 70 members by mail prior to the vote, the IAM said in its statement, noting that the new proposal "contains significant improvements" from the earlier offer made by management in November.

(Reporting by Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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