New Boeing Contract Could Keep Plant in Seattle

Posted on: 8:33 pm, December 11, 2013, by

SEATTLE — Machinists Union representatives have presented the Boeing Co. with a preliminary proposal for a contract that would secure 777X wing fabrication and final assembly work for Puget Sound.

The union is not disclosing any of the terms of its Wednesday offer.

“We tried to craft a proposal that would meet the needs of our members, while also ensuring the long-term success of the Boeing Co. in Washington state,” said District 751 President Tom Wroblewski in a posting by the district.

Wroblewski said he expects Boeing will respond to the offer on Thursday. He described the tone of Wednesday’s talks as “respectful and constructive,” but said the two sides are not close to an agreement.

Last month, the Machinists voted to reject an eight-year contract extension by a count of two to one. The offer required changes to pensions, the rate at which machinists would move up the pay scale and requirements to pay more into their medical plans. Many machinists said Boeing’s contract contained too many concessions.

The talks come now as Boeing has in-hand proposals from as many as 17 other states that also want to land assembly or large parts of the 777X production.

Sources tell KING 5 News that talks on Monday night focused on what went wrong with the last contract offer and how the company remained concerned about future costs, specifically the pension. Boeing said in its last offer it wants to move over to a 401K style plan.

The union said in an online posting that they will continue to make the case that Boeing should build the 777X in Washington.

“Our members want Boeing to be successful, and Boeing’s best chance of success for the 777X is to build it here, utilizing their skills, experience and dedication,” Wroblewski said. “A business analyst might call our Machinists the high-skill, low-risk solution to Boeing’s manufacturing needs. I’d just call us the best aerospace workers in the world.”

6 comments

  • Michael Kewl says:

    Anyone could see all this was a negotiating ploy in Seattle…never intended to move out of Washington State…

  • Bedmisto says:

    I’m beginning to think the same thing. Good observation!

  • Mitsy says:

    Just my two cents…. Believe this negotiating leverage is a smaller piece of a multi-staged strategy. Think bigger and outside the US. This is testing the waters for higher intervention in union negotiations as had occurred with South Carolina. I would expect Boeing to move some additional assembly to possibly the UAE in the next few years…. follow the money. After the pant is complete, Airbus will begin to assemble aircraft in Mobile. Would not like the employment situation that would develop from this, but it makes a lot of sense.

  • Bob says:

    This was a union busting ploy by Boeing. They never intended on moving anywhere. Boy, did the suckers in Huntsville and Montgomery fall for this hook line and sinker.

    • Patrick says:

      What else could they do? If Boeing got an offer they wanted and chose another state they’d never hear the end of it. I can see this as the new method to bust unions.

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