On July 24, 2022, the union representing three Boeing Co. defense locations in the St. Louis area rejected the company’s current contract offer. This would result in about 2,500 union workers going on strike, starting on August 1. What are Boeing striking workers’ demands?
This would be the first strike in more than two decades. Previously, the workers went on a 99-day strike against McDonnell Douglas in 1996, a year before Boeing took over. The union represents nearly 2,500 workers at its defense locations in north St. Louis County, St. Charles, and Mascoutah. The workers at three plants build the F-15, F-18, T-7A trainer, and the MQ-25 unmanned refueler.
The union had certain priorities as the vote took place.
The union’s priorities were general wage increases, a faster path for workers to climb the pay scale, and improvements to 401(k) plans. The vote was held on July 24 and the union didn't like the company’s offer. If the deal had been approved, it would have run for three years from August 1, 2022, to August 1, 2025. However, the current contract ends on August 1, 2022, at 12:01 a.m. CST and that's when the union has called to start the strike.
Union members weren't satisfied with Boeing's offer.
Union members weren't satisfied with the terms of the proposed contract. According to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, “Boeing previously took away a pension from our members, and now the company is unwilling to adequately compensate our members' 401(k) plan.” It added, “We will not allow this company to put our members’ hard-earned retirements in jeopardy.”
Boeing is disappointed that the union rejected the offer.
Boeing added that it's disappointed with the workers rejecting their highly competitive offer. The company also added that it's activating its contingency plan to support the continuity of operations in the event of a strike. Boeing was confident prior to the vote and said that the proposal offered highly competitive wage increases and one of the most lucrative 401(k) plans in the nation.
The company was offering the workers a dollar-for-dollar match on retirement plans, up to 10 percent of base and incentive pay. They also offered a special contribution of 2 percent in 2023 and 2024.
However, the offer wasn't acceptable to workers. The union said Boeing previously would match 75 percent of the first 8 percent that an employee put in retirement. In addition, Boeing provided 4 percent of the employee’s base rate and incentives without the employee investing anything.
The current proposal puts a lot of onus on workers for their own retirement, as per the union. The union doesn't think the offer is fair and equitable. The workers aren't happy that the company continues to make billions of dollars each year due to their hardworking members, who remain under-compensated.