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Boeing machinists to vote on revised offer, union says

Construction cranes and palm trees line the entrance at South Carolina Boeing in North Charleston, South Carolina December 19, 2013. REUTERS
Construction cranes and palm trees line the entrance at South Carolina Boeing in North Charleston, South Carolina December 19, 2013. REUTERS

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Unionized workers at Boeing Co who resoundingly rejected a proposed contract last month will get a chance to vote on the company's latest offer, the union's national office said on Saturday, despite opposition to the revised deal from local labor leaders.

"I can confirm that a vote will take place," Frank Larkin, a spokesman for International Association of Machinists, told Reuters. "But the date and details are still being finalized."

Boeing on Saturday said its offer was still valid, countering suggestions at a union rally last Thursday that said there was no offer because the local leaders had rejected it.

"The terms of Boeing's enhanced contract offer to the IAM on December 12 stand," Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said in an email. "If ratified by the membership, Boeing would honor that contract."

In November, machinists at the Everett, Washington, plant where Boeing's 777 jet is built voted 2-to-1 against the company's initial offer.

The eight-year contract would have kept production of Boeing's next jet - the 777X - in Washington state. But in exchange, management wanted to replace the workers' pension plan with a 401(k)-style retirement savings account and raise their healthcare costs.

In the aftermath of that vote, Boeing said it would look for other locations to build the 777X, the only jet the company is likely to develop in the next 15 years.

Boeing later made a revised offer that included a larger signing bonus and other concessions, and asked union leaders to endorse it. But the leaders of IAM District Lodge 751, which represents the 31,000 workers, refused endorse it or put it up for a vote, saying the changes were not significant enough.

In an email to Reuters on Saturday, Bryan Corliss, a spokesman for District Lodge 751, said "our leadership is trying to contact our International President for details. As soon as we have them we will pass them on to our members."

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher in Chicago and Alwyn Scott in Seattle; Editing by Sandra Maler and Eric Walsh)

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