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      Boeing moves closer to union resolution

      SEATTLE (AP) -- Boeing's Machinists union votes Wednesday on a four-year contract extension that would ensure a long stretch of elusive labor peace as the new version of the 737 is built in Washington state.

      The union announced last week that it reached a deal following secret talks with the company. If workers ratify the pact, the Machinists say they'll drop their National Labor Relations Board complaint over Boeing's decision to open a nonunion plant in South Carolina.

      The relationship between Boeing Co. and the union's 28,000 workers in Washington, Oregon and Kansas has been contentious.

      Aerospace analyst Wayne Plucker says that Defense Department budget cuts mean Boeing's commercial airplanes division will be especially important over the next several years, and a quiet stretch of labor peace is just what the company needs.

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