The union representing
machinists on Friday said it was rejecting the aerospace company's final contract offer and will likely strike next week.
The International Association of Machinists says it will recommend that its 27,000 members reject Boeing's
and walk out on Wednesday.
"We might have been able to come to an agreement," IAM chief negotiator Mark Blondin tells
Friday. "But they went around the bargaining committee, and disrespected the process. It is just pure arrogance."
Nevertheless, Blondin says, "The union is open to talk at any time: the ball's in their court. Just pick up the phone and call me."
In its final offer Thursday, Boeing offered an 11% pay raise over three years as well as thousands of dollars in one-time sweeteners. Union members are set to vote on the contract proposal on Sept. 3, and could strike as soon as Wednesday if the offer is rejected.
The proposal fell short in pay, health care, job security and pension, Blondin says. In the key area of outsourcing, "they offered nothing," Blondin said.
"They refused to broaden the scope of work we could look at to show how we could be more efficient and keep it in house," he says. "Members are irate and are ready to shoot this thing down."
The IAM constitution provides that for a strike to occur, two thirds of the members who vote on a contract must vote in favor of a strike. The provision ensures that the union will not enter into a strike without the full support of membership, on the theory that strikes can be arduous and some workers may feel pressure to return to work, particularly if a strike is approved by a narrow margin.
Blondin says the IAM feels that Boeing's strategy is to anticipate that the union will be unable to convince two thirds of the members to approve a strike, even if they reject the contract. Boeing has repeatedly denied the charge.
Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx says the company's offer "truly rewards our employees with excellent pay, world class health care and one of the best pensions in the industry."
He says the company is open to resuming talks, but will not change its offer. Rather, Boeing wants workers to have time "to examine the contract with their families over the weekend -- they will see it is truly in their best interest to support it."
Meanwhile, the union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, saying that Boeing violated labor law and sought to gain approval for its proposal in "direct dealing" with members, rather than through the negotiating process.
Proulx said Boeing has done nothing wrong.