St. Louis Machinists approve new contract with Boeing

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by Elizabeth Eisele / KMOV Staff | @ElizEisele

KMOV.com

Posted on February 23, 2014 at 10:28 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 24 at 1:00 AM

(KMOV.com) -- Boeing, one of St. Louis’ largest employers, and the Machinists Union finalized a new contract that will last for the next six and a half years and keep defense manufacturing in St. Louis.

Boeing released a statement Sunday night saying the new deal “better positions us to compete” for future bids on new defense jet contracts.. Boeing currently manufactures the F15 and F18 jets in St. Louis, but says those contracts won’t last forever.

The Machinist Union agreed to the deal that offers buyouts to veteran union workers, lower wagers for future hires and freezes pensions. 

The union Machinists who voted on the deal at the Chaifetz Arena Sunday, knew they were giving up something to keep working, but close to 75 percent of them were willing to agree to do that.

“Concessions are never easy to make, but in cases like this,” said Machinist Union member Don Lummus, “These concessions were for the good of the entire company and for the area and for the good of the union as well. We did lose things we hold dear, but we can accept that, because we have jobs.”

After losing out recently to try and lure Boeing’s commercial assembly lines from the state of Washington to St. Louis County, the contract instead gives Boeing’s defense work a more competitive edge.

“What it also did was allow some members close to retirement to be able to go out,” Lummus said, “And make room for more employment here, so it’s quite important for the local economy.” 

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