KSDK-- More than 2,500 machinists at Boeing's Defense Systems Plant could be walking the picket lines next week.
Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 837 rejected the company's latest contract offer Sunday morning during a special vote at the Family Arena in St. Charles.
Following the vote, members of Local 837 authorized a strike.
Union president Gordon King says the key issue is pensions.
"All across the aerospace industry they've been taking away defined pension plans and putting in a 401(k). Then a contract or two after that, they take the 401(k) away from them," King said.
The machinists build the F-15, F-18 and C-17.
Boeing issued a statement following the vote:
"We are disappointed the membership of IAM 837 has rejected our contract proposal and has decided to strike. The work we perform here in St. Louis is critically important to our country and the men and women of our armed services. The fair and equitable contract we put forward recognizes the contributions made by our union employees in terms of enhanced salary, benefits and pension."
The Boeing Company
Local 837 last went on strike in 1996, when the plant was McDonnell Douglas. That strike lasted 99 days.
Union leaders must give Boeing a seven day intent to strike notice. They say they plan to give the company until Wednesdday to decide whether to go back to the bargaining table. So the earliest they will likely walk off the job is June 23.