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How will Machinists vote on this Boeing contract proposal?

EVERETT — All eyes are on the Boeing’s Machinists: Will they approve or reject the company’s latest offer?

machinistsThousands of union members cast their ballots Friday — Machinists have been lining up to vote since before sunrise.

Dan Mulder voted no on the previous contract offer in November and the latest offer from Boeing hasn’t changed his mind.

“Probably vote the same way I voted last time,” said Mulder.

Bob Denis held the only ‘vote yes’ sign in the middle of hundreds of Machinists. He was hoping to influence other union members.

“I just feel there’s a lot of negative response to the contract proposal at this time and I felt like I had to take matters into my own hands,” said Denis. “Hopefully I can sway a few votes.”

The latest offer by Boeing has created a rift between the national and local union leaders on how the vote should go down. Local leaders said the latest contract wasn’t good enough to vote on, but the national leadership pushed for an election.

Aviation expert Scott Hamilton says finding a different outcome this time around could be a tough fight.

“There was a 34 point spread, a 2-1 vote against on November 13,” said Hamilton. “So you have to swing 17 points on the vote. That’s a big, uphill climb.”

The main sticking point is the pension system. If this contract is accepted pensions would be frozen in 2016 and move to a 401k retirement plan.

Earlier this week, local politicians urged Machinists to accept.

“There are people around this region who would love to have that kind of a contract,” said Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke. “You think about Boeing’s competition, it’s not just in this region, in this state, or in the United States. It’s international competition. It’s a great contract.”

Boeing says if Machinists do accept the eight-year contract, it will enable the company to build its planned 777X airliner in the Puget Sound region, guaranteeing high paying jobs for years.

Even so, Hamilton says tense negotiations like this one will never go away.

“If a miracle happens and they accept this contract, that’s nothing but good news for the Puget Sound,” Hamilton said. “But nobody should be under any illusions that Boeing won’t put us all through the same process for the next airplane down the road.”

But if Machinists shoot the offer down, Boeing says it’s possible it’ll decide to produce the 777x, and create thousands of high-paying jobs, in one of the 20 states vying for the project.

“If we vote this down, it seems logical they will follow through with one of those and take it somewhere else,” said Denis.

The union said voting would close at 6 p.m. and it’s estimated results would be announced between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

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4 comments

  • pete

    I am a union member and I would like to say that the last contract was a bit just a bit worse than this one and the union/ union stewards had my group huddle and he said basically that if we didn't vote yes that it will be bad. They didn't do much " talking" about it and I found out about the contract the Monday before the nov. 13th vote so it was a hush hush deal with the union and boeing before the working union members brought their pitch forks and torches to the head union hall that made them say just before voting they Recommend we vote no. Now they are ALL against it saying vote no on the contract proposal is if anything better than the last but the least it means is work hopefully. Detroit had unions in the auto industry and I am sure they had contracts they thought were terrible and now look at them. That place is a ghost town. The world is changing, not many businesses don't do pensions anymore.

  • pete

    I will also add, boeing being here in the Puget sound is providing jobs for more than just those who work for boeing. Think of all the suppliers, machine shops, and any other business that I don't know of. A lot of that money they earn go into buying food from their local business ( ex: grocery store, gas station, mortgage) which in turns helps those businesses stay in business. Not that boeing is keeping things working here but equals jobs for a lot of Washington residents and money for businesses here in Washington.