Boeing Co. on Thursday presented its machinists union with a 300-page proposal that "represents the best package of pay and benefits in the aerospace industry," according to the company's chief negotiator, Doug Kight. In addition to increased compensation worth an estimated $34,000 per employee over the life of the contract, Boeing is offering a $2,500 ratification bonus if the contract is approved by a majority of machinists on or before Sept. 3. The company also backed down on two pension and insurance issues that the union had said were sure to result in a strike. With some 3,500 planes on its order books, Boeing hopes to avoid a strike that would push back deliveries, especially on the new 787 Dreamliner.

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