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Boeing union recommends contract rejection

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – The union representing 2,500 workers at Boeing's Defense, Space and Security plant in St. Louis is recommending that its members reject the latest contract offer from the aerospace company, setting the stage for a possible strike.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 837 will vote on the contract Sunday, but workers wouldn't walk the picket lines immediately. Union president Gordon King would have to notify Boeing seven days before workers strike.

The company dropped language that would allow it to fire more senior workers first. But in a statement, King called Boeing's attempt to switch new hires to a defined contribution plan instead of a traditional pension "unacceptable." The change, he said, would decrease the retirement income of future hires by almost 66 percent.

In its own statement, Boeing called the contract "competitive" and "fair." The 4.5-year-deal includes a $5,000 bonus in the first year, and 3 percent wage increases after that.

District 837 members work on F-18s, F-15s, and C-17s. The company just settled a strike at a California plant that also builds C-17s.

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