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(en) US, DAMN: 14-FEB-2000: Update On Boeing Strike

From DAMN <damn@tao.ca>
Date Sat, 19 Feb 2000 15:45:59 -0500


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> Chris Stetkiewicz and Luis Cabrera contributed to this report

Boeing Co.has now gone six days without delivering a commercial jet, largely
a result of a walkout by nearly 20,000 engineers and technical workers.

Cargo carrier Atlas Air Inc. said Boeing missed delivery of a 747-400
freighter scheduled Friday because of the walkout by nearly 20,000
SPEEA-represented engineers and technical workers, the first indication that
the strike had bogged down Boeing's commercial jet deliveries.

Atlas said it now expected delivery next Wednesday, when it would hold a
media presentation of its 10th 747-400, which Boeing lists for sale at
$177-197 million.

Additionally, the Air Force said that the strike has delayed some testing
and production of the F-22 fighter. 

Nine of the radar-evading jets are built or nearing completion, and the
strike has delayed a scheduled test for structural strength. Two others at
earlier stages of assembly may also be affected, Air Force Secretary F.
Whitten Peters said. 

Boeing, a subcontractor, is doing about one-third of the work on the jet. In
addition to developing and testing much of the electronics, Boeing is
building the F-22's tail section and wings at its south Seattle plant.

Boeing will still meet its 2000 target of delivering 490 jets, priced from
$30 million to $197 million, labor spokesman Peter Conte said.

But Conte declined to say if the absence of 500 employees that certify
production processes and aircraft components on behalf of the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) would trim February delivery totals.

The Society of Professional Engineers in Aerospace said 90 to 95 percent of
the 20,224 employees represented by its Seattle-area bargaining unit, or
about 19,000, have walked off the job since last Wednesday seeking better
pay and benefits.

Boeing, which has said the strike participation has held steady at 75-80
percent, has confirmed one plane has been delayed, a 747-400 that cargo
carrier Atlas Air Inc. had expected to pick up last Friday.

Seattle-based Boeing has considered replacing some of the 500
SPEEA-represented designated engineering representatives (DERs) that the
union calls ``the brains behind the planes'' and a crucial group in keeping
jets rolling off the assembly line.

Conte has declined to elaborate on reports that Boeing may use outside
contractors or company managers to replace DERs or transfer employees from
its Long Beach assembly plant, which is unaffected by the strike.

SPEEA has been without a contract since December, when over 98 percent of
its 13,500 dues-paying members voted to reject Boeing's first proposal.

An ensuing offer with better pay prospects and without a controversial
10-percent medical premium was rejected by a much closer vote, with many
workers still demanding a lump-sum bonus and other concessions.

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