Boeing won’t negotiate with Machinists any time soon, officials say
EVERETT — Boeing said it has no plans to go back to the bargaining table or offer up another contract to machinists until the current contract expires in 2016, officials said Thursday.
“As of today, we’re actively exploring all options,” said Boeing spokesman Doug Alder of the company’s plans to build the new 777X. “All options are back on the table.”
The company will spend the interim looking for the best options on where to build the plane, officials said.
By a 2-to-1 margin, Machinists union members in the Puget Sound region Wednesday rejected Boeing’s proposed eight-year contract extension that would have cut pension and other benefits in exchange for Boeing’s commitment to build the planned 777X airliner and its advanced-technology wing in Washington state.
Sixty-seven percent of those 31,000 union members in the region voted no on the proposed contract extension, the union announced Wednesday night.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said after the vote: “We are very disappointed in the outcome of the union vote … But without the terms of this contract extension, we’re left with no choice but to open the process competitively and pursue all options for the 777X.”
At a news conference in Olympia after the vote, Gov. Jay Inslee said Boeing told him the company would consider “multiple sites, including Washington” for the assembly of the new airliner and that he wasn’t about to give up in trying to gain the 777X production in the state.
“We intend to be competitive in the weeks to come,” Inslee said. “We know how to compete in the state of Washington.”
He added, “We could have won this tonight without any competition (but) that didn’t happen.”
Tom Wroblewski, spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751, issued the following statement:
“Today, the democratic process worked and our members made the decision to not accept the company’s proposal. It is my belief that we represent the best aerospace workforce in the world and hope that as a result of this vote Boeing will not discard our skills when looking to place the 777X.
“We preserved something sacred by rejecting the Boeing proposal. We’ve held on to our pensions and that’s big. At a time when financial planners are talking about a ‘retirement crisis’ in America, we have preserved a tool that will help our members retire with more comfort and dignity.”