OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stepped out of his office Friday morning to declare, “We are moving forward in the state on aerospace.”
The governor said lawmakers are also moving quickly on $9 billion tax break for Boeing. Inslee called a special session of the Legislature, which began Thursday. On Friday morning, a state House committee passed and sent to the House floor a measure to help ensure Boeing builds its new 777X in Washington.
“My job is to make sure that these bills really work well and I think we’ve got it in really good shape,” said state Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Bellevue, chairman of the House Finance Committee.
But the deal won’t mean anything if the Machinists union can’t agree on a new contract proposal that Boeing says is essential to keep the work in Everett. One union leader apparently tore up the offer during a union meeting Thursday night.
Two union members Q13 FOX News spoke with off-camera called it a bad deal that has big cuts in health care benefits and pensions.
Boeing responded in a letter, saying if the union won’t approve the deal, “We will be left with no choice but to open up the process competitively and pursue other options for locating 777X work.”
“We are at risk if we do not move forward, on multiple tracks, to assure these jobs,” said Inslee.
Boeing’s proposal is scheduled for a vote next Wednesday by 31,000 Puget Sound area members of the International Association of Machinists. Boeing said approval of the contract will ensure the 777X is built in Everett, and its big composite wing is fabricated in the state as well.
The governor said he’s not surprised the union is angry, but if a deal doesn’t get done, there are plenty of other states in line to grab the lucrative 777X job.
“People all around the world are envious and want to poach these jobs from the state of Washington,” said Inslee. “There are 49 governors that will be calling Boeing if, in fact, this deal doesn’t go through this week.”