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Long Beach : Contract Talks to Resume

January 15, 1987

A bargaining session has been scheduled Feb. 2 by McDonnell Douglas Corp. and the United Auto Workers' Local 148, which represents about 9,500 workers at the 21,000-employee Long Beach aircraft production plant.

The new talks, the first since early December, prompted the UAW and the International Assn. of Machinists to postpone a joint rally planned for Saturday to devise a common bargaining strategy.

A Jan. 19 meeting, at which UAW leaders had planned to ask members for authorization to strike, also has been postponed, Local 148 President Bob Berghoff said.

The two unions--which represent nearly 15,000 aerospace workers in plants in Long Beach, Torrance and Huntington Beach--have been without a contract since October.

In announcing a return to bargaining, McDonnell Douglas also said it would implement a 3% wage increase March 2 to offset a health insurance co-payment that takes effect March 1. Changes in health insurance payments and in work rules the unions say would undercut worker seniority have been the main points of contention during negotiations.

In a third move, the company also agreed recently to begin withholding dues from workers' checks for the UAW, Berghoff said. It had halted union deductions in December.

The unions have twice rejected three-year proposals that include a 3% general wage increase in the first year and 2% in the second year. The proposed contracts also include annual lump-sum payments of 2% to 4% per year based on employees' earnings.

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