"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Monday, August 25, 2008

Boeing - strike looms- can they pay ? Can they afford a strike ?

All is not well at Boeing. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) represents 27,000 Boeing workers in the US - mainly in the Seattle region have a pay raise of 2.5 percent the first year and 2 percent in each of the following two years - Connie Kelliher, a spokeswoman for the IAM rejected it.

She is talking (through the side of her mouth) 9-13% in a 3 year contract.

Tom Wroblewski, president of the local district of the Machinists union, he described Boeing's offere more succintly."It's a crock," Wroblewski said.

This is what Tom said on May 9th when bargaining began -" “We are cautiously optimistic as we enter this round of bargaining. We are in the strongest bargaining position we have had in years. By any measure, Boeing is one of the most successful companies in the world – sales, profits, backlogs – and our members are a huge part of that.It hasn’t been easy for our members during the last two contract negotiations."

The current 36 month contract expires September 3rd, a strike (to be voted on) is threatened by September 4th.

However, as ever, the devil is in the fine print - anxious to save on future welfare and medical costs Boeing's wants to stop offering retirement medical cover for new staff. It also talks of putting new workers into a defined retirement benefit plan (or what Boeing insist on calling , an "enhanced" 401(k) plan ) rather than the traditional Boeing final salary benefit pension fund.

The first flight of the 787 Dreamliner, was due September last year, thrice delayed it is now due November. A further slip in the 787 test flight program will mean additional delivery delays, 2 years and more for some very unhappy customers.

A strike will severely affect progress and prospects - and m akes sense of the company's shilly shallying over the Air Force tanker contract.

See lengthy and detailed Everett / Washington Herald report by Michelle Dunlop on IAM Sunday rally and strike call here

Antipodean grumbles as well

In what Aussies persist in calling the Fishermans Bend Hawker de Havilland site in Melbourne, Victoria , Boeing have announced 500 jobs have to go, 350 within 12 months and the rest to follow. Steve Darvagel, secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) has called on State and Federal governments to intervene.

Steve senses that this is a ruse to send work back to the US - certainly the explanation that some production will be shifted to Sydney to make space for work on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Melbourne is difficult to understand.

Boeing shares closed today, down 2.26% - US$1.48 @ 64.07 $

Will they strike ? No. IAM are playing tough cop, soft cop - nobody wants to threaten jobs and the profitable future of Boeing and it's employees depends a great deal on getting the Dreamliner flying.

Antipodean update Monday 26th August

We have been provided with mpre background about the whingeing Aussies who had a lengthy strike in April May this year. When in Melbourne recently I spoke to several people about the boeing strike. Due to stalling on the 777 development Boeing have been cutting back staff by sacking rather than redundancies - clock in yer mate - get the sack after a weeks suspension - not the Ocker way Mate. (See pdf Leaflet to download and print off) "Corporate thug uses Howard’s IR Laws against workforce "

The dispute started on Monday April 7 when Boeing sacked a worker (Alan Bloom) and suspended another without going through the agreed dispute settlement procedure. Amicability failed to breakout so about 700 workers walked out on April 9 and set up a picket Boeing claiming that they were loosing in excess of A$1.3 million per day!

Here is a poster issued on Australia ... AS gemma says, just click on it to make it bigger , Boeing shareholders might like to read it.

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