July 29, 2009

Boeing agrees to new severance package

Machinists for U.S. planemaker Boeing said the company had agreed to a severance pay package for workers who volunteer to leave the company.

Boeing said in January that it would cut up to 10,000 workers by the end of the year. In Washington alone, the company has shed 3,000 jobs since November, The Seattle Times reported Wednesday.

The severance package includes 13 weeks of pay and an additional six months of health benefits.

The deal is slanted toward older workers. Those over 49 who accept the deal will be able to tap into the company pension program at age 55.

The deal, however, did not move the union closer to accepting a no-strike clause in their contract, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers union president Tom Buffenbarger said.

This is all a drama being played out for the benefit of the politicians and the Boeing Company, he said.

We're not going to agree to a no-strike agreement. They had their chance.

But, one company machinist who did not want to be identified, called the severance deal a win-win agreement.

This is a way that people with young families, that the company has just gotten trained, they can stay, he said.