St. Louis Public Radio News
5:25 pm
Wed June 23, 2010

Union delays strike, but recommends rejection of a new contract

St. Louis – The union representing 2,500 workers at Boeing's St. Louis plants is again recommending its members reject a contract.

The union is suspending a strike that was scheduled to start at 12:01 Friday to vote on the proposal, but the changes do not not satisfy officials with the International Association of Machinists District 837.

Officials said the defense company restored language that allows dependents to remain on an employee's health insurance coverage for 30 months even if the employee isn't working - up from six months in the original proposal. But the new proposal still increases what employees would have to pay for health insurance. And the largest sticking point remains an attempt to give new hires a 401-K rather than a traditional pension. A contract rejection on Sunday means workers would be on the picket lines at 12:01 am Monday.

Boeing still hopes to avoid a work stoppage, but a spokesman said the company has plans in place to fill orders if workers do strike.