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Machinists to vote on Boeing offer despite rejection, union leader says
Tacoma News Tribune ^ | 12/13/13

Posted on 12/13/2013 3:25:46 PM PST by djf

Washington’s bid to place work on the 777X jet in the state may not be dead yet, despite the abrupt collapse Thursday afternoon of negotiations between Boeing management and the Machinists union.

In a phone interview late Thursday with The Seattle Times, the Machinists union’s lead negotiator said rank-and-file membership will get a chance to decide on the Boeing offer that the union leadership rejected earlier in the day.

Rich Michalski, who represented the national leadership of the International Association of Machinists in the negotiations, described the terms offered by Boeing management in a positive light and insisted that the members must decide the final outcome.

“Our members are very sophisticated and smart on this matter. Once we get the information on the offer to them, they will let us know,” Michalski said. “We really need to hear from our members.”

Michalski’s comments strongly suggest that the union will allow a vote on the latest offer, which could be one last chance for Washington state to win the 777X work.

No timeframe was given for the vote.

Leadership of Boeing’s biggest union earlier Thursday rejected an enhanced contract offer from the aerospace company that would have ensured Boeing would have built its newest jetliner in Everett.

“We entered these discussions to address the concerns we were hearing from our employees,” Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said late Thursday in a prepared statement. “We’ve listened to the union leadership and had an open dialogue in hopes of moving toward each other. Unfortunately the offer, which would have ensured this great airplane for the Puget Sound region, was immediately rejected by the union leadership.”

The offer, which Boeing labeled its “best and final,” enhanced the previous offer which union members rejected Nov. 13.

The Boeing offer came in response to the union’s proposal offered in talks Wednesday.

The company proposal improved its previous offer in several ways:

It raised the bonus for signing from $10,000 to $15,000. It restored the seniority-based raise scheme to its present form. Dental benefits were improved.

The company, however, kept intact the changes to its pension system that would have frozen the existing defined benefit pension system in place in 2016 with additional pension benefits added under a new defined contribution system.

The pension system changes were among the elements of the prior proposal that had drawn the most fire from union members.

Boeing’s contract offer applied not only to work on the 777X but also on Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

The 737 Max is the newest version of Boeing best-selling single-aisle jet that Boeing promised to build in Renton after Machinists approved a contract out of sync from normal negotiations in 2011.

Some union members have expressed concern that Boeing might move work out of Renton if they reject Boeing’s 777X proposal. Boeing has said it plans to build planes at Renton for years to come.

The 737 Max is an updated version of the 737 with new engines, aerodynamic improvements and improved cabin.

The key to reaching an agreement may be the one issue Boeing didn’t address in its new offer, the pension plan.

The defined benefit pension system under which the Machinists work is rapidly becoming an artifact of more generous times in corporate America. By switching to a defined contribution plan, Boeing can shift investment risk from itself to its employees.

Boeing, meanwhile has continued evaluating offers from other states to locate the 777X assembly plant elsewhere. In its statement, the company said that it had proposals from 22 states, “many of which submitted multiple sites for consideration. A total of 54 sites are now being evaluated in the next critical stage of the process.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events; US: Washington
KEYWORDS:
National Union leadership urging a vote. Local news has been overflowing today with Union members angry that they were not allowed to vote on current offer.
1 posted on 12/13/2013 3:25:46 PM PST by djf
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To: djf

The heck with everyone of them. Move the company to a state that actually wants them. Don’t care where it is. Don’t care if it is union or not. Just move to a state that actually wants them.


2 posted on 12/13/2013 3:37:48 PM PST by animal172 (Calling Thomas Jefferson)
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To: djf

My, my, my it seems like the union lelders are following their puppet masters lead by deciding that they know better what is best for their members than those who will suffer the results.

Kind of sounds like mac daddies obamacare.


3 posted on 12/13/2013 3:41:15 PM PST by chiefqc
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To: djf
Some union members have expressed concern that Boeing might move work out of Renton if they reject Boeing’s 777X proposal.

If I were a Renton-based Boeing machinist, that would sum up my worry (and define my vote).

.

4 posted on 12/13/2013 5:15:57 PM PST by Seaplaner (Never give in. Never give in. Never...except to convictions of honour and good sense. W. Churchill)
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To: djf

Whoops, the union leaders pushed too hard. It’s not clear that this do-over will be agreed to by Boeing, even if it passes the membership. How can Boeing ever trust these malcontents?

On the other hand I read in the WSJ that Washington State’s inducements to stay were extremely generous in comparison to those of most other states. I wonder which way it will go.


5 posted on 12/13/2013 5:37:34 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Seaplaner

Many of the people who might be affected are ones who work on the 737SP or whatever it is in Renton.

IIRC, the 737 is still the single most flown plane, historically, as well as currently.

I seriously doubt Boeing would move the 737. That’s their bread and butter, it’s done, and it’s done extremely well there!


6 posted on 12/13/2013 6:00:07 PM PST by djf (Global warming is a bunch of hot air!!)
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To: Pearls Before Swine

Boeing has said today the offer is still on the table.


7 posted on 12/13/2013 6:01:02 PM PST by djf (Global warming is a bunch of hot air!!)
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To: djf
Boeing has said today the offer is still on the table.

Didn't know that. Thanks for the info.

Which ever way it goes, the unions have to get a grip, or they'll chase the golden goose away. A couple of articles away from this one was a post which said Boeing had done a land buy which tripled the area of one of their southern sites.

8 posted on 12/13/2013 6:05:05 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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