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Boeing machinists in STL authorize strike

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Machinists at Boeing's St. Louis division voted on Sunday to authorize a strike, but negotiations between the company and the union will continue.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represent about 2,600 workers at Boeing in St. Louis. They voted 1,167-38 for the strike authorization.

Union spokesman Thomas Pinksi says workers are most concerned about changes in the contact's retention language. "Basically it's an attack on the seniority of every union worker out there," Pinski said Sunday. "It would give the company the latitude to pick and choose who they want to lay off and when they want to lay off, and basically, that's against everything we believe in."

Pinski says proposed changes to job classifications are also a sticking point.

A Boeing spokesman says the company remains optimistic that the two sides will reach an agreement.

"We look forward to having some vigorous discussions and crafting a bargaining agreement that treats our employees fairly and gives the St. Louis site the ability to continue building a competitive organization," said Forrest Gossett.

Full negotiations will begin at the end of April. The machinists' three-year contract expires May 20th.