Setback for IAM-Boeing strikers

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Striking Boeing workers lost their medical benefits Wednesday, but they could get it back if they’re willing to pay. "I took my children to doctors before this ended. Got the dental appointments taken care of so, hopefully, we'll be OK through the rest of the strike," said striking worker Elizabeth Troy.

She has two kids, ages five and three. While the union and Boeing says she and others no longer have company paid medical insurance, they do have 60 days to elect to buy it and coverage would be retroactive from Wednesday. But it costs hundreds of dollars a month.

"I don't know how much it is. Don't know whether I can afford it right now," said Troy.

Some machinists are finding they're being asked to pay for things like prescriptions out of their own pockets, but could be reimbursed later.

"If in that 60 day window you have like a sick child and take them to the doctor, they may just want to pay the doctor visit. It may be far cheaper than paying the monthly COBRA bill," said union spokeswoman Connie Kelliher.

The union says after the last three strikes, the settlement has called for those bills to be re-paid.

The health insurance issue is one example of how pressure begins to bear on both sides to come to a settlement. Wednesday marked the 25th day of the strike, three shy of the 28 days workers were on the picket lines three years ago. Both sides are talking to a federal mediator every day but neither side is budging.

Machinists District 751 President Tom Wroblewski carried out a long tradition Wednesday by wearing a strike vest from the painful five month long walkout of 1948. Nobody believes this strike will go that long, but no end is in sight.

"If we're going to start talking again, the company needs to improve that last best and final offer," said Wroblewski

Pressure is building on the company as well. The longer the strike goes on, the longer it's going to take to catch up on building new planes like the 787 Dreamliner, which has already been delayed for other reasons.


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