In a posting on its Web site, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) also told its 26,000 members that they should report to work as usual next week.
The order came from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), which noted that a rejection of the current Boeing proposal in the form of a strike could have a “substantial economic impact on both parties.”
Furthermore, since that action “threatens to cause a substantial interruption of commerce”, the FMCS called the parties to Washington, and requested an extension of the current contract terms.
The order came while union members were voting on Boeing’s final offer. Two-thirds of those voting would have to authorize a walkout for it to occur, and the possibility of a strike was considered likely. The current contract expires at midnight Sunday.
For its part, the IAM told members that its position on the current contract remains unchanged, while encouraging members to oppose Boeing’s “best and final” offer.
The distance between the two parties was evident in their description of the new pension proposal. While Boeing characterized the change as a 20% increase in pension contribution, the IAM chose to view the new offer as providing workers just 38% of their pre-retirement income as a pension.
The aircraft manufacturer is offering to raise pension payments from a monthly contribution of $50 per year of service to $60 per year of service. The Machinists want monthly payments of $120 per year of service
However, in addition to pensions, Boeing also proposed to give the 26,000 machinists covered by the contracts an 8% signing bonus in the first year (which could average $4,700/worker, according to reports) as well as wage increases of 2% in the first year, and 2.5% in the second year of the contract.
IAM updates are on the IAM Web site .
Boeing updates are at the Boeing site .