TUKWILA, Wash. – After a 29-day strike of Boeing Co., members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers voted overwhelmingly on Sept. 30 to approve a contract offer from the company. Eighty percent of the union’s members voted to approve the contract and end the strike, which began Sept. 2. Of the roughly 16,500 Boeing employees on strike, nearly 95% of them belong to the $5.5 billion BECU, according to Todd Pietzsch, BECU spokesman. The CU activated its Income Interruption Program in response to the strike providing temporary, basic need assistance to members with food, housing and medical care. More than 4,200 loans were deferred and more than 250 loans were funded under the program. Days before union members were to vote on the contract, Pietzsch said BECU was optimistic about the outcome. Now, the CU may see another contract dispute with Boeing from the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA). It represents 11,850 engineers and 5,700 technical workers in the Seattle area and approximately 800 engineers in Wichita. SPEEA Spokesman Bill Dugovich said the union is seeking terms similar to IAMAW. IAMAW agreed to a three-year pact that keeps health care premiums the same; increases pension payouts nearly 17% to $70 per month for every year worked; and distributes cash payouts to machinists of roughly $11,000 over three years. Boeing also dropped a plan to offer incentive payments based on whether the company meets or exceeds financial targets. Meanwhile, Pietzsch said hopefully, the IAMAW contract agreement will “set a good tone” for the SPEEA’s contract negotiations. Dugovich echoed Pietzsch. “Our hope is that the Boeing Co. has learned a valuable lesson from the Machinists, and that is put a good offer out there, meet the needs of the employees and move forward,” Dugovich told the Associated Press, adding the union is not ruling out a strike. SPEEA’s three-year contract expires Dec. 1 for Puget Sound employees and Dec. 5 for those in Wichita. [email protected]

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