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Boeing workers are willing to strike to get a 40% pay rise, union leader says

Feb 6, 2024, 20:35 IST
Business Insider
An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER.Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images
  • Boeing workers could strike if they don't get a 40% pay rise over the next three to four years.
  • "We don't take going on strike lightly. But we're willing to do it," union leader Jon Holden told Bloomberg.

Union leaders say Boeing workers are willing to strike if they're not offered huge pay rises.

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that union bosses want the embattled plane manufacturer to increase salaries by 40% over the next three to four years — and could down tools in a bid to push the deal through.

"Our goal is to negotiate a contract that we as a union leadership and our members can accept," Jon Holden, president of an International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) branch in Seattle, told the outlet.

"We don't take going on strike lightly, but we're willing to do it."

The move comes as Boeing reels from a blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 Max plane last month.


A door plug covering a deactivated emergency exit came off mid-flight on January 5, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing. Boeing responded by suspending its annual financial guidance and pledging to improve its quality-control processes.

"Our full focus is on taking comprehensive actions to strengthen quality at Boeing, including listening to input from our 737 employees that do this work every day," CEO Dave Calhoun said in a press release on January 31.

The incident has sparked rare public criticism of Boeing from airline bosses including Scott Kirby of United, its biggest customer.

"The Max 9 grounding is probably the straw that broke the camel's back for us," he told CNBC. "We're gonna build an alternative plan that just doesn't have the Max 10 in it."

Boeing's last deal with the IAM, which it brokered back in 2014, limited pay raises to less than 1% on average and ended non-union workers' pension plans. Talks for the new contract are set to start on March 8.


"The anger that was experienced by our membership throughout that process in 2013 and 2014 is certainly palpable today," Holden told Bloomberg. "I hear it any time I'm in the factory, and from all across the spectrum."

Detroit-based autoworkers and Hollywood actors and writers went on strike last year to negotiate better wages and conditions.

Boeing didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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