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Boeing, Union Clash Over Painting Jobs


As part of an effort to speed up production and reduce costs, Boeing Co. says it may find an outside contractor to paint some widebody jets - 767s, 777s and 747s.

Its largest union doesn’t like the idea.

The manufacturing giant, worried about trying to meet unfilled orders for 1,397 jetliners, has sent a memo to workers at its Everett plant.

By mid-1997, Boeing “will need to offload the painting of some widebody airplanes unless the existing paint hangars can be used more efficiently,” said the memo from Bob Dryden, Boeing executive vice president for airplane production.

Bill Johnson, president of District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said that means Boeing wants its employees to work on weekends - and without overtime.

Dryden said Boeing will send one plane to an outside contractor this month to find out whether it makes economic sense to “offload” painting.

He said the specific plane and the contractor hadn’t been picked out.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mark Ludington, an Everett paint shop worker and new president of IAM Local A.

He said Boeing has long campaigned for employees to work non-traditional work weeks of four 10-hour days which could include weekends.

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