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Machinists approve Boeing contract

Members of the machinists union at Boeing Co. have approved a new four-year contract that will raise workers’ healthcare expenses, but keep work in Seattle.

Boeing contract 2011 12 08Enlarge
Boeing employees assemble Boeing 787 Dreamliners in Everett, Washington on Sept. 25, 2011. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Members of the machinists union at Boeing Co. have approved a new four-year contract that will raise workers’ healthcare expenses, but keep work in Seattle.

About 74 percent of the 31,000-member union voted to accept the contract yesterday, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

According to The Associated Press:

Boeing promised that if workers approved the pact, the company would build the new version of the popular 737 in the Puget Sound region, while the Machinists said they’d drop their allegations that Boeing opened a nonunion assembly plant in South Carolina in retaliation for previous strike.

Other incentives to accept the contract, according to Bloomberg Businessweek: annual wage increases of 2 percent, cost-of-living adjustments, an incentive program designed to pay bonuses between 2 percent and 4 percent and a ratification bonus of $5,000 for each member.

"Today our members cast their vote for jobs, for their future, the future of the community, the future of Washington state,” Machinists Local 751 President Tom Wroblewski said, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

"This contract signifies jobs throughout the Northwest, throughout the region," the union's aerospace coordinator, Mark Blondin, said, according to the AP. "The message of this contract is ... Boeing is acknowledging we have the deepest pool of skilled aerospace workers in the country."

The deal benefits Boeing, too, industry-watchers said. “To avoid disruption during the next several years when production is expected to ramp up to over 650 planes per year translates into a notable reduction in risk for Boeing,” Howard Rubel, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. in New York wrote in a note today, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

“It’s jobs for the people and not having to worry about a strike — it’s beautiful,” Seattle-based Gabrielle Rogano, a third-generation Boeing employee, told the AP.

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