Boeing fire fighters in St. Louis secure significant contract gains

December 6, 2023
money pay rise increase wages

Significant contract victory for St. Louis Boeing fire fighters

The Boeing Fire Fighters Local I-66 in St. Louis, Missouri, has successfully negotiated a new contract, achieving substantial benefits after facing lockout threats from Boeing, one of the world’s largest corporations.

This new 4-year contract promises a wage increase of up to 34% throughout its duration, marking a significant victory for the fire fighters.

A unified effort leads to negotiation success

The deal, lauded by IAFF 7th District Vice President Ricky Walsh as “a job well done by all involved,” was the result of a collective effort by the IAFF, 7th District leadership, the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters, the Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters (MSCFF), and several labor groups.

They faced down repeated threats by Boeing to secure this contract.

Walsh praised Boeing Local I-66 for their perseverance and unity in the face of corporate power, highlighting the importance of solidarity in such negotiations.

Fair compensation and improved working conditions

The Local I-66 represents Boeing facility fire fighters, inspectors, and lieutenants in St. Louis, Lake City, Missouri, and Washington State.

One of the key issues addressed in the negotiations was the underpayment of I-66 members under the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which did not factor in inflation.

Additionally, the new contract mandates payment for full 24-hour shifts, addressing the historical practice by some private sector employers, including Boeing, of not paying fire fighters for shift hours when they might be sleeping.

This aspect of the contract is expected to result in an average pay increase of 22%.

Challenges during negotiations

Negotiations were challenging, with Boeing initially refusing to budge on wages or full-shift payment.

The company had even sent a lockout letter to Local I-66 as a form of a final offer.

This prompted IAFF leadership, including General President Edward Kelly, to rally support from trade unions and labor councils, preparing to utilize their full resources to support the St. Louis fire fighters.

A bittersweet victory

The eventual agreement on the contract, reached just a day before the proposed lockout, was a mixed victory for Local I-66.

Notably, J.T. Boothman, a pivotal member of the negotiation team who contributed significantly to the proposals while undergoing cancer treatment, passed away during the negotiations.

Local I-66 President Casey Yeager acknowledged that the successful negotiation of the contract was largely due to Boothman’s efforts.

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