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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Boeing defense workers to strike in St. Louis area over pay issues

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(Corrects last paragraph to say the contract expires on Monday, July 25, not Aug. 1)

By David Shepardson and Jose Joseph

July 24 (Reuters) - A union representing nearly 2,500 employees at three Boeing Co defense locations in the St. Louis area said on Sunday the workers rejected the company's defense contract offer and will strike at the locations starting Aug. 1.

"Boeing previously took away a pension from our members, and now the company is unwilling to adequately compensate our members' 401(k) plan," the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union said in a statement. It added that union workers will not accept a contract that is not fair and equitable. "We will not allow this company to put our members’ hard-earned retirements in jeopardy," the union added.

Workers at the three plants in Missouri and Illinois build the F-15, F-18, T-7A trainer, and the MQ-25 unmanned refueler.

Boeing said Sunday it "is disappointed with Sunday’s vote to reject a strong, highly competitive offer. We are activating our contingency plan to support continuity of operations in the event of a strike."

Boeing had offered an additional $3,000 ratification https://www.iam837.org/news/summary-of-company-modifications-to-bafobonus if workers had approved the three-year contract by Sunday rather than an earlier proposal to make additional $1,000 annual contributions to workers 401(k) plans.

Boeing's 401(k) offer included a company match of workers contributions up to 10% of workers' salaries along with an automatic contribution of 2% for 2023 and 2024.

The current contract is set to expire on Monday, July 25. (Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Jose Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Diane Craft and Lisa Shumaker)