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SEATTLE -- Machinists who are on vacation will still get a chance to vote on a proposed contract with Boeing Co.

Union officials said in a message to members Monday that they are developing an absentee ballot process for those who cannot make it to the polls on Jan. 3. Local union leaders have expressed concern that many members will be on vacation and out of the area when the vote takes place.

National union leadership set the vote for Jan. 3 over the objections of local union leaders. Local union representatives say the latest contract offer is too similar to one rejected just last month.

The latest Boeing offer would still move workers away from a traditional pension plan. However, the company has backed away from a proposal that would have slowed the rate at which employees rise up the pay scale.

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