by Christopher Freeburn | January 18, 2013 9:32 am
As if having the worldwide fleet of its brand new 787 Dreamliners grounded over safety concerns wasn’t bad enough, Boeing‘s (NYSE:BA) engineers union on Thursday recommended that its members reject the company’s final contract offer, setting the stage for a potential strike.
Members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace will vote on the four-year contract offer, which includes salary-increase pools of 5% per year, within several weeks, Bloomberg notes.
The vote will likely also include an proposal to authorize a strike. The contract offer transfers new employees to a 401(k)-style defined contribution retirement program, instead of the defined-benefit pension plan offered to current employees, but health insurance plans remain unchanged.
Switching away from a pension plan for new employees shows “disrespect” for its engineers and technicians, a union official said.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered all 787 Dreamliners grounded in the U.S. following a series of incidents relating to the new plane’s batteries and power systems. European regulators quickly followed suit.
Dreamliners won’t be allowed to fly again until Boeing can prove to the FAA that the litium-ion batteries used in the new jet are safe.
Shares of Boeing slipped fractionally in Friday morning trading.
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