Machinists Fault Boeing for Triggering '08 Strike

Union president blames Boeing's strategy to create a separate and lower class of employees in its manufacturing facilities.


WASHINGTON -- The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) called on leaders of the Boeing Company to end their misinformation campaign regarding the 57-day strike by 27,000 Machinists union members.

"The strike was triggered by a Boeing strategy to create a separate and lower class of employees in its manufacturing facilities; one with lower pay, fewer benefits and a cut-rate retirement plan," said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger.

Despite an overwhelming vote by union members to strike over Boeing's divisive proposals, IAM negotiators delayed the shutdown in response to requests by federal mediators for additional bargaining. Still, Boeing refused to move off proposals that were certain to trigger a walkout.

"Boeing had every opportunity to avoid this strike," said Buffenbarger. "Even after the strike vote, they refused to modify their proposals in the misguided hope that they could pit one half of the workforce against the other half."

Additionally, Boeing's claim that the global credit crisis is to blame for a fourth quarter net loss of $56 million fails to acknowledge strategic management errors, including a reliance on contractors and an outsourcing strategy that compromised the quality control that Boeing was once renowned for.

"Boeing's global outsourcing of design and manufacturing has been a failure," declared Buffenbarger. "They lost control of the final product and held Machinists out for 57 days, over language that could have been offered and accepted from day one."

The IAM represents more than 35,000 Boeing employees among nearly 700,000 active and retired members across North America. For more information visit www.goiam.org.

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