Odds Shifting Toward Another Boeing Machinists Strike?

RENTON, Washington --

Odds may be rising toward yet another strike by Boeing machinists next year, KIRO 7 aviation anaylist Scott Hamilton said Thursday.

Renton Boeing machinist Jason Natario said delays and problems in the 787 program, largely due to outsourcing sections of the plane, should give the company an incentive to offer good local contract and avert another strike next year.

"Can't you see that as an example as a pro for our side, keeping it here in the Puget Sound?" Natario said.

But a negative may be a decision Wednesday by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to back the machinists' protest against a second 787 production line in Charleston, South Carolina, which was slated to be run by non-union workers. Boeing officials have publicly stated that repeated strikes my machinists prompted the South Carolina decision.

A judge will hear the NLRB case against Boeing June 14th. Boeing and the machinists begin new contract talks about a year from now.

The question now is whether the threat to the Charleston operation will poison the atmosphere as both sides gear up for new contract talks in 2012.

"That's my fear," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said that while relations between Boeing and the union have been improving since 2008. He said that with the NLRB decision, he sees a worrying shift in mood.

"I would hope this is not a particular setback," Hamilton said. "I see some real tough rhetoric already."

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