McDonnell Douglas strike ends with OK of contract Machinists ratify unendorsed accord


ST. LOUIS -- Union machinists at McDonnell Douglas Corp. have approved a five-year contract, ending a strike at the company's St. Louis aircraft plant that began June 5. The 6,700 members of the International Association of Machinists Local 837 ratified the contract by a vote of 3,774 to 1,785, even though their bargaining committee didn't endorse the pact.

Workers are to begin returning to the plant Monday. The contract stipulates that roughly 5,000 temporary replacement workers must be dismissed by next week.

The labor contract provides McDonnell Douglas increased flexibility in the way work is done in its facilities.

Throughout the strike, the company demanded a reduction of the number of job classifications that dictate what each machinist can do. The company has said the 62 classifications in the old contract slowed production work and increased costs. The new agreement eliminates and combines many of those classifications. The contract also requires McDonnell Douglas to provide machinists several weeks' notice if it decides to eliminate 50 or more union jobs by hiring outside companies to perform their work. Union officials would be given a chance to propose ways to save those jobs.

The contract doesn't address the machinists' top demand. The machinists wanted the company to guarantee all its members jobs between now and May 20, 2001, when the contract expires. McDonnell Douglas refused.

McDonnell-Douglas agreed to pay raises and bonuses worth an average of $17,000 per worker during the life of the agreement, to allow machinists with 30 years on the job to retire with full benefits at age 50, and to increase pension and health benefits.

Starting Jan. 1, the company-paid basic life insurance coverage will rise to $23,000 from $22,000 per worker, along with death and dismemberment insurance. The machinists' weekly disability benefits will rise to $315 from $275.

Pub Date: 9/12/96

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