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Boeing s engineer union continued voting on a new contract Monday, as the deadline on whether to accept or reject and possibly strike looms. The deadline is Tuesday at 5 p.m.

The union, SPEEA, represents 23,000 engineers. It has been negotiating with Boeing since October when the union rejected an earlier contract. Key to the union is Boeing s plan to take new employees off a pension and put them into a 401k.

Union President Tom McCarty said Monday there is no way a contract can be approved without a pension.

That s what we have been saying to our members, McCarty explained, Reject this contract.

SPEEA went on strike in 2000 for 40 days, which delayed production of 50 planes and took a chunk out of Boeing s revenue. McCarty said the strike worked then, and it would work now.

We may as well negotiate for the best deal we can. If we settle for less, there s no guarantee the work will stay here.

Even if the contract is rejected and a strike is authorized, employees would not walkout for at least a month. In the interim, negotiations would resume with federal mediators, McCarty said.

When asked for comment, Boeing released a letter it sent to employees that reiterates existing workers will not be affected by the change in pension, and that a change to 401k for new engineers is important...to our company s future.

Judy Mogan, a SPEEA member and engineer, said it would be insane for Boeing to force a strike.

I m prepared to go on strike, she said Monday, But I don t think we will.

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