Boeing's initial contract offer to the Machinists union included an increase of less than 10 percent in monthly pension payments, according...

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Boeing’s initial contract offer to the Machinists union included an increase of less than 10 percent in monthly pension payments, according to union sources.

Under the existing labor agreement, Machinists at Boeing receive up to $60 per month for each year of service at the company after they retire.

Boeing on Wednesday offered to increase pensions to a level “lower than Lockheed [Martin],” said one source. Other sources said the characterization was accurate. None knew the exact amount of Boeing’s proposed increase.

Lockheed provides $66 per month for each year of service to retiring Machinists at its plants in California and Georgia. Lockheed’s pension payout represents an 18 percent increase above the $56 per month Machinists in California and Georgia received before 2005.

At Boeing, the International Association of Machinists (IAM), District 751, represents roughly 18,300 workers, including 16,500 in the Puget Sound area. Its labor agreement with Boeing expires just after midnight Sept. 2.

The union has repeatedly stated that pensions are its top priority in the talks.

An IAM statement Wednesday called Boeing’s opening offer a “slap in the face,” and said it included a “very meager increase on pensions.”

More information

Boeing negotiations page:

Machinists negotiations page:

IAM spokeswoman Connie Kelliher and Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers wouldn’t comment yesterday on pension figures. Both sides said they want details of offers kept at the negotiating table.

Jerry Calhoun, Boeing’s chief negotiator, said last night the contract provides different types of compensation for different types of workers.

“During these negotiations, there has been a lot of discussion about pensions. What hasn’t received much discussion is the concept of balance,” Calhoun said in a statement e-mailed to company managers.

“Boeing has always provided a competitive package of total compensation that addresses the needs of all employees, regardless of their age.”

The pension increase for Machinists at Lockheed Martin’s plants in Georgia and California was part of a new contract negotiated earlier this year.

Machinists at Lockheed’s plant in Marietta, Ga. went on strike for six days seeking higher pensions and lower outlays for health care, but their leverage was limited because Machinists in California approved the initial offer and did not strike.

Lockheed will negotiate with Machinists in its larger Texas plants next year.

Yesterday, leaders of the Machinists union at Boeing delivered their counteroffer to the company’s opening proposal. Specifics were not disclosed.

Bickers said Boeing was reviewing the offer last night and had no initial reaction.

Boeing has promised its best-and-final offer no later than Tuesday. Machinists will vote on it Thursday.

David Bowermaster: 206-464-2724 or