About 2,500 workers at three Boeing facilities across the St Louis area are expected to go on strike starting 1 August following a union vote over the weekend, the St Louis Post-Dispatch first reported.
The union, which represents more than 2,000 employees within the Arlington, Virginia-based company, voted Sunday after members indicated they were dissatisfied with the terms of the bargaining agreement on the table.
“Our members have spoken loudly and with one voice,” the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 837 said in a press release after the vote. “We reject Boeing’s current contract offer.”
“We cannot accept a contract that is not fair and equitable, as this company continues to make billions of dollars each year off the backs of our hardworking members,” the union said, noting that the strike would officially commence at 12.01am on 1 August at all three Boeing facilities in St Charles County, St Louis County and Mascoutah.
In a statement released by the world’s largest aerospace company, the company said they were “disappointed” about the union’s move to strike.
A spokesperson for the company said in a press release that the contract offer included competitive raises and a generous retirement plan that included Boeing matching employee contributions to their retirement plan up to 10 per cent of their pay. They also noted that the company would also make a special contribution of 2 per cent in 2023 and 2024.
The union disputes this characterisation and says that the company, which currently valued at $93 billion, had previously put members’ “hard-earned retirements in jeopardy”. Per the St Louis-Post Dispatch, the union says Boeing previously stated they would match 75 per cent of the first 8 per cent that a member contributes to their retirement.
“The company is trying to put the onus of retirement all on the employee,” said Jody Bennett, an international representative of the union, in an interview with the publication.
Members of the St Louis-area union work in Boeing facilities that are responsible for manufacturing weapons and military aircraft, such as the F-15 and the F-18 used by the US Air Force and the US Navy.
The strike is the first walkout the St Louis union has had in over 20 years. The last strike was in 2001 when the union representing assembly-line workers in Boeing’s St Louis military aircraft plant notified the company that its then-3,200 members intended to go on strike on 28 May.
“It is the bravest decision a union member makes to go on strike, putting their family and loved ones at risk,” the union said in its press release. “We do not make this decision lightly or in haste, but do so in order to stand up for working people around the globe and fight for the contract we deserve.”
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