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Boeing faces possible labour strike at three US defence plants

Boeing workers who produce the T-7A Red Hawk trainer could soon go on strike. (Boeing)

Unionised workers at three Boeing military aircraft factories in and near St Louis, Missouri, could soon walk off their jobs over a retirement benefits dispute.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District 837 announced on 24 July that nearly 2,500 of its members have voted to go on a strike on 1 August. The labour action would involve plants in St Louis, St Charles, Missouri, and Mascoutah, Illinois, that produce the F-15 and F/A-18 fighters, the T-7A Red Hawk trainers, and the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tankers.

IAM District 837 said it rejected Boeing's current contract offer because the company “previously took away a pension from our members” and is now “unwilling to adequately compensate our members' 401(k) plan”.

In a statement, Boeing expressed disappointment that the union rejected the company's “strong, highly competitive offer”. Boeing said it is “activating our contingency plan to support continuity of operations in the event of a strike”.

News of the potential strike came less than three months after Boeing's Defense, Space & Security (BDS) business reported a USD929 million loss from operations in the first quarter of 2022 fuelled by USD1.3 billion in earnings charges on four military aviation development programmes, including the T-7A and MQ-25. BDS had “a messy quarter”, Boeing president and CEO Dave Calhoun told analysts on 27 April.

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