Machinists want chance to vote on contract offer
Boeing says their latest offer is still on the table, but union officials say it’s not.
Just days after talks stalled between Boeing and the International Association of Machinists, several workers pleaded for another chance to cast a ballot on Boeing’s latest contract offer.
“Both the union and Boeing could have done it better. They both messed up on that but let’s get the vote out now, work on the little things later,” says machinist Rob LaJudice.
“We don’t know who to believe,” says machinist Paul Fritzler. “The best bet is to give the machinists the information, put it to a vote, let us decide.”
“We want the ability to vote. We don’t want union executives choosing for us. We want to make our own choice. They’re there to represent us not choose for us,” says machinist Adam Subitch.
Last month, machinists overwhelmingly rejected Boeing’s 8-year contract extension by a 2 to 1 margin.
The aerospace company wants employees to contribute more money to health care plans and it wants new employees to pay into a retirement plan instead of a traditional pension.
But since union officials rejected Boeing’s latest offer last Thursday, some machinists say confusion is ruling the factory floor.
“My gut feeling is if we’re not allowed to vote of if it is a no vote that Boeing will pull the 777X out of Washington,” says Fritzler.
Boeing is looking at more than 50 locations in 21 other states as options for the 777x production line. That reality is setting in for some workers.
“I could see that happening, I could see them moving somewhere. They could hit some bump in the roads like they did in South Carolina but it’s a learning curve with the employees down there. Soon enough, within five years, South Carolina is going to be in tip-top shape,” says LaJudice.
Without a chance for rank-and-file employees to cast their ballot this time, some worry that Boeing will pack up and ship out of Everett for good.
“We’re going to become another Detroit,” says Fritzler.
Boeing says there aren’t yet any new scheduled negotiations.
But political leaders in Snohomish county and Olympia are urging union leaders to let the machinists cast their vote.