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    Machinists at 3 Boeing defence plants ratify new contract

    ST LOUIS (AP) – Nearly 2,500 workers at three Boeing defence plants in the Midwest voted on Wednesday to ratify a contract that their union said will raise pay by an average of 14 per cent over three years and add inflation adjustments.

    The vote by members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers came less than two weeks after union members rejected an earlier offer and authorised a strike.

    A spokesman for Boeing, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, said the company was pleased with the outcome and looked forward to its future in the St Louis area.

    The three-year contract took effect yesterday and cover employees at Boeing plants in St Louis and St Charles, Missouri, and Mascoutah, Illinois. The workers build several types of military planes.

    The union said the new contract includes a provision from the rejected deal that calls for company contributions of up to 10 per cent to employees’ 401(k) retirement plans, and it added a USD8,000 lump-sum payment that can go into the employee’s account. It also has improvements for sick leave and parental leave, and makes no changes to the workers’ health insurance plans, according to the union.

    Workers voted down a company offer on July 24, saying that the retirement benefits were not an adequate replacement for pension plans that had been taken away. Boeing made an improved offer over the weekend.

    A worker performs hydraulics testing on a new F/A-18 at Boeing’s fighter aircraft production line in St Louis. PHOTO: AP
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