* Offer increases pay raises, leaves other items unchanged
* Union leader says new proposal still makes cuts
* Boeing says it has contingency in case of strike during
NEW YORK, Jan 11 Boeing Co made a revised
offer to the union representing its 23,000 engineering employees
The improved offer came on the same day the U.S. government
ordered a review of the firm's 787 Dreamliner following a string
of mechanical and electrical problems.
Boeing and the union are meeting this week to renew a
contract that expired in November. Federal mediators joined the
talks in December after the talks appeared at an impasse.
Boeing's new offer boosted raises for professional workers
by 5 percent in each of the first two years of the four-year
agreement, and 4 percent in each of the remaining workers.
Technicians, a separate category, would get 4 percent raises
all four years.
The offer left other contract provisions, including
healthcare and retirement benefits, unchanged.
"We believe this offer is market-leading by every
definition," said Mike Delaney, a vice president of engineering
at Boeing's commercial airplane division and a member of
Boeing's negotiations team.
The new raises compare with 4 percent to 4.5 percent offered
previously for professional engineers and 3 percent to 3.5
percent for technicians.
Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of
Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, said the offer
would reduce salary growth, increase medical costs and eliminate
the pension "all from a company posting record profits."
The offer capped three days of talks in Seattle with federal
mediators this week, and followed a break in December. The union
has not authorized a strike, but has been conducting strike
training and Goforth has said a strike appears likely.
The U.S. government on Friday mandated a wide-ranging
review of the design and manufacturing of Boeing's latest
passenger jet, the 787 Dreamliner, citing concern over a fire
and other recent problems but insisting the plane was still safe
Delaney, the Boeing executive, said the company has
contingency plans in case the engineers go on strike during the
"We are the Boeing company and I have access to significant
resources across the entire corporation," he said, noting an
engineering team in California.
"So while we want to get to an agreement ... we want a deal
that works for the company both short-term and long term. We
have contingency plans here."