Materials handling has emerged as the main point of contention for striking machinists at Boeing Co. who want assurances that suppliers will not be allowed to deliver materials directly to production lines. "What we are looking for are guarantees that no one else is going to come in and take our jobs," said the IAM's Tom Wroblewski. "[Boeing] wanted to give the suppliers the ability to grow within the walls of the company, not us." But Doug Kight, Boeing's chief negotiator, insisted the company merely wants the flexibility to adopt technologies such as radio frequency identification tags that would make materials handling more efficient. The strike now appears likely to last well into November, making it the longest walkout at Boeing in 60 years.
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