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Boeing engineers and technicians to vote on strike authorization

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Ashley Gross
/
KPLU

About 21,000 Boeing engineers and technicians will vote on whether to authorize a strike. The threat of a walkout comes at a bad time for Boeing as the company tries to fix its 787 Dreamliner.

While Boeing engineers race to figure out what’s wrong with the Dreamliner batteries, they’re also trying to gauge how much the company values them.

Boeing wants to move new hires to a 401(k)-type retirement plan instead of a pension. The union says that means less money for new employees, splitting the union into two factions.

"Right now it’s a game of chicken and it’s just going to be whoever blinks first on this," said Scott Hamilton, an aviation analyst.

Members have until February 19th to vote. If they approve a strike, there’s a week-long waiting period before union leaders can call a strike.

Union leaders say they hope the two sides can then hammer out a better agreement. Boeing executives say this offer is as good as it gets.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.
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