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Boeing hit with 2nd big strike since '05

Boeing, whose order books are bulging with demand for its planes, was hit by its second major strike in three years early Saturday, when the union that represents 27,000 machinists in Washington state, Oregon and Kansas walked off the job.

The union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said its members struck at 3:01 a.m. after last-minute talks failed to bring an accord. No new talks were scheduled.

Boeing said its plants would remain open during the strike and employees who were not members of the machinists union were expected to come to work. The company said it would build airplanes during the walkout.

Talks broke down over a variety of issues, including pay, pensions and job security, a key point for the machinists, who have watched Boeing send work on its planes to other companies.

Workers began to walk picket lines as soon as the strike was called, although its impact would not be fully felt until Monday.

If the strike goes on for more than two weeks, union members will begin drawing $150 a week in strike pay. The typical pay for a union member is $27 an hour, or about $56,000 a year before overtime and bonuses.

The strike was Boeing's second in its last two sets of contract talks and the seventh since 1948. Boeing workers spent a month on strike in 2005.

The latest walkout came after Boeing and the union failed to reach agreement on a new three-year contract during negotiations in Orlando, Fla., that were supervised by a federal mediator.

The talks moved to a hotel outside Walt Disney World, where the union was holding a national conference, from Seattle, the home of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and many of the company's production sites.

The union agreed to extend its contract 48 hours late Wednesday.

The president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Scott Carson, said in a statement: “Over the past two days, Boeing, the union and the federal mediator worked hard in pursuing good-faith explorations of options that could lead to an agreement. Unfortunately, the differences were too great to close.”

Boeing has a backlog of more than 3,600 orders valued at $263 billion in all. The majority of those aircraft are versions of the Boeing 737, a short-range plane that is the world's most popular.

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