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Boeing Talks Set to Resume Sunday

October 28, 1989

SEATTLE (AP) _ Contract negotiations aimed at ending a production-halting strike against the Boeing Co. are set to resume this weekend, a federal mediator said Friday.

Doug Hammond of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said he would meet separately with representatives of 57,800 striking Machinists and Boeing management Sunday afternoon.

Negotiating teams from both sides will meet face to face the next day, he said. It would be only the second meeting since the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers went on strike Oct. 4.

″I talked to both sides. I asked if they wanted to have a meeting, and they agreed,″ Hammond said, adding that he will try to keep the two sides at the table until an agreement is reached.

In the only talks during the strike, Hammond shuttled between the two sides for nearly four hours on Oct. 18.

Since then, Boeing chairman Frank Shrontz has ruled out any increase in the company’s financial offer and Tom Baker, president of Machinists District Lodge 751, has ruled out a return to work without more money.

Baker said he hoped Hammond’s plan would work.

″He understands that we can’t afford or shouldn’t have a letdown like we did the last time,″ the union leader said. ″It took a long time for our members to get their spirits back up, and for me, too.″

Paul Binder of Boeing confirmed that chief negotiator Larry McKean would attend the talks and said there had been no change in the company’s position.

″At this point we will stand behind our statement that we are willing to make adjustments within the framework of our economic package, but we will not expand on that framework,″ Binder said.

Union members voted to strike on Oct. 3 after overwhelming rejecting a three-year pact with raises of 4 percent in the first year and 3 percent in the second and third years, as well as bonuses of 8 percent and 3 percent in the first two years. The offer also included cost-of-living increases, a 20 percent reduction in mandatory overtime and higher benefits.

The Machinists represent 43,300 Boeing workers in the Seattle area; 12,000 in Wichita, Kan., 1,700 in Portland, Ore., and a few hundred others at scattered sites in California, Hawaii, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and other states.

Meanwhile, Binder said two more aircraft were delivered late Thursday, a 747-400 to Lufthansa of West Germany and a 767-300ER to All-Nippon Airways of Japan.

Boeing has delivered 13 aircraft during the walkout. All were virtually complete before the strike began.

In a move unrelated to the strike, Boeing announced it would bring military and other government-related operations together under a newly formed Defense and Space Group. Binder said no changes in job assignments or employment levels were contemplated in the reorganization.

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