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Boeing Workers Approve New Contract

The workers make, among other things, the Super Hornet (Boeing file photo)
The workers make, among other things, the Super Hornet (Boeing file photo)

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – With 60 percent voting in favor Sunday, aerospace workers at Boeing's St. Louis plant accepted a new three-year contract offer from the company.

The agreement includes pay raises and $5,000 in bonuses, but requires employees to pay more out-of-pocket for health insurance.

Rick Smith, president of the St. Louis International Association of Machinists Lodge, says the vote "should send a message to the company that the membership was not as happy as they may have thought they were."

"This was a relatively close vote. It was probably closer than we've had in the past. I think the company needs to look at that very seriously."

Smith says the union also gave Boeing the right to use outside vendors in the plant, but in return, got better job security promises.

The agreement covers about 2,800 Integrated Defense Systems employees in St. Louis, California and Maryland.

Boeing spokeswoman Ann Beach says the contract is still one of the best around. "I think everyone in corporate America and elsewhere is facing escalated health care costs. Last year alone, we spent $1.9 billion on health care costs."

The final vote on the contract offer was 1,221-808. Three ballots were voided. The defense business makes fighter jets, missiles and other weapons.