At 12:01 a.m. Pacific time Saturday, 27,000 Boeing Co. machinists, protesting a lack of job security, went on strike. A lengthy walkout would halt the assembly of several pricey Boeing planes, including its 777.
The aeronautic giant's 777 is supposed to have enough fuel capacity to win the Air Force's most lucrative contract: a $35-billion deal to replace 179 aging aerial refueling tankers. Even before the strike, Boeing said that it needed more time to put in a contract bid.
For the past month now, the Pentagon has been unable to lay out it final bidding specifications for a contract expected to pit Boeing against the combo of Northrop Grumman and Airbus, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic and Defense Space Co., or EADS.