Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Boeing workers strike

Lisbeth Latham

More than 26,000 members of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) working at Boeing commercial plants in the US began strike action on September 6. The strike, which was supported by 87% of IAM members, followed Boeing’s insistence that a new contract include significant contract concessions. Boeing offered only an 11% wage over three years increase to workers; Boeing’s lowest paid workers receive just US$10 an hour.

At the same time, Boeing has been making massive profits. In 2007, Boeing posted a $4.1 billion profit, an increase of more than 300% over the past three years. Boeing profits have been driven by growing demand for its newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft, with $275 million in backorders.

Financial analysts estimate that Boeing is losing $100 million in revenue for each day of the strike. The IAM are using the strike to push for the reversal of outsourcing of parts production that has occurred since 2002. In September the Society of Professional Employees in Aerospace joined the IAM in pushing for Boeing to bring back jobs outsourced during early production of the Boeing’s new 787. SPEEA’s contract, covering 21,000 Boeing engineers, expires in December.

Originally published in Green Left Weekly #770


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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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