Updated from 8:45 a.m. EST
strike drew to a close after
and its engineers reached a labor agreement Friday that will end a potentially disastrous bottleneck of aircraft deliveries and a reduction of flights for summer travelers.
It took the company two days and the help of a federal mediator in Washington, D.C., to reach a settlement with the
Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace
"These were tough negotiations," Boeing chairman and chief executive Phil Condit said in a statement. "Both sides worked very hard and compromised. The result is a very positive offer to take to the SPEEA engineers and technical community that also protects the long-term competitive position of the Boeing Co."
"It was an all-nighter," C. Richard Barnes, director of the
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
, said in an interview. The arduous negotiations lasted from Thursday morning until 5 a.m. EST on Friday. "It just took a good while to work through the emotion of the issues."
Wall Street, as expected, was pleased by the settlement. Boeing's shares rose 1 9/16, or 4.4%, to close at 37 31/6 Friday.
The issues of employee salaries, bonuses, pensions and health insurance were argued by SPEEA director Charlie Bofferding and Paul Almeida, international president of the
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers
. Management was pushing production and employee productivity issues, Barnes said.
"One thing that was at the forefront for both parties involved in these talks was the long-term survivability of this company," said Barnes, whose 26-year career as a negotiator includes resolving the messy
strike in 1997.
"I certainly hope it will be ratified. Both parties were quite confident it would be," Barnes said before returning home for sleep.
About 15,000 engineers and technicians took part in the strike for better pay and benefits.
Boeing has lost about $5.2 billion in market capitalization on a 15% stock decline since the strike started on Feb. 9. Analysts say the strike will hurt Boeing's first-quarter and full-year earnings.
Boeing said it would not comment on the nature of the tentative agreement until after an SPEEA membership vote on Sunday.
The strike has put considerable strain on the aircraft maker as it delayed shipments of three or four planes to
. The airline was forced to cancel a few flights in March and April and worried that a prolonged strike would affect air travel of summer vacationers.