In a re-vote tallied Monday night, Boeing technical workers overwhelmingly approved a new four-year contract that replaces pensions with a 401(k) retirement plan for new hires.
The technical workers had voted Feb. 19 to reject the same offer. The workers’ union, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, had cautioned that a second rejection would “almost certainly” lead to a lengthy strike since Boeing had refused to improve its offer.
The latest vote was 4,244 to accept and 654 to reject, union spokesman Bill Dugovich said.
The union made no recommendation this time, after earlier urging both the 7,200 technical workers and the 15,500 Boeing engineers it represents to reject the pact. Engineers and technical workers bargain at the same time, but their contracts are separate and independent agreements.
The engineers approved their contract offer in the first vote. It contained the same pension provision for new hires.
Chicago-based Boeing said it was pleased with the latest vote results. It has said a switch away from pensions is vital to the company’s competitiveness.
“The votes by technical workers and engineers in recent weeks will allow us to come together and focus on the challenges and opportunities we face this year,” said Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.