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Boeing

Boeing employs more than 170,000 people in the U.S. and in 70 countries. The company has a large aerospace manufacturing plant in Everett, Wash.

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SEATTLE — Machinists union members, with a 51% yes vote, accepted a Boeing Co. contract proposal Friday night that will cut pension and health care benefits, but possibly ensure construction in the Puget Sound region of the planned 777X airliner.

“Tonight our members voted to accept Boeing’s  proposal … with a 51% yes vote,” said Jim Bearden, an official of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751, at a news conference after the ballots were counted. “Our members have spoken … and this is the course we’ll take. No member liked this vote or the position we were put in by the company…”

machinists

Machinists votes on the Boeing contract offer being counted in Everett, Wash., Friday night.

Clearly disappointed in the acceptance vote, Bearden went on to say, “We faced tremendous pressure from every source imaginable. Politicians, the media and others, who truly had no right to get into our business, were aligned against us and did their best to influence our folks’ votes.

“But this decision means Boeing hopefully will stop the pursuit of a different site for its 777x aircraft program, and our goal in the coming years is to make sure the company lives up to its commitments … and truly keeps jobs in Washington state. It’s up to all of us now to pull together to make this aircraft program successful,” he said, without taking questions.

Boeing said in a statement that, “under the terms of the eight-year contract extension, the 777X and its composite wing will be built in the Puget Sound area by Boeing employees represented by the IAM. This work includes fuselage build, final assembly and major components fabrication such as interiors and wires.”

“Thanks to this vote by our employees, the future of Boeing in the Puget Sound region has never looked brighter,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “We’re proud to say that together, we’ll build the world’s next great airplane—the 777X and its new wing – right here. This will put our workforce on the cutting edge of composite technology, while sustaining thousands of local jobs for years to come.”

About 31,000 members of the Machinists union, nearly all in the Puget Sound region, voted on the proposed eight-year contract that would cut some pension and health care benefits. About 1,500 union members in Portland, Ore., and Wichita, Kan., also voted.

A previous Boeing contract proposal was rejected 51 days ago — on Nov. 13 — by 67 percent of the union members.

Machinists votes on the Boeing contract offer being counted in Everett, Wash., Friday night.

The second vote was held after Boeing offered a new plan with a few sweeteners. The union’s national leadership ordered the vote over the opposition of local leaders, who said the revised offer wasn’t much better than the previous version.

The main sticking point in the Boeing offer was the company’s desire to eliminate the workers’ traditional, defined-pension plan in 2016 and replace it with a new 401(k)-type retirement savings plan. But the union members, in their vote Friday, chose to accept it.

Boeing is the biggest private employer in Washington, with about 82,500 employees.  In addition, thousands more are employed by aerospace suppliers in the state.

The Washington Legislature earlier in 2013 approved $8.7 billion in tax breaks and other incentives for Boeing.  But the company wanted contract concessions from its union workforce in the Puget Sound to guarantee the manufacture of the 777X in Washington state.

After the first rejection vote, Boeing asked other states to submit proposals if a 777X deal with the union doesn’t come through. The company said it received proposals from 22 states, including South Carolina, a right-to-work state where some Boeing 787 Dreamliners are built.

The new Boeing 777X would be the latest version of the twin-aisle 777, one of Boeing’s bestselling models. The 777 has been built in Everett, Wash., since the early 1990s.

In a statement Thursday night, Boeing said, in part, that their contract proposal would keep “the IAM workforce above market in wages, health care and retirement benefits” and increase the chance of future airliners being built in Washington.

Boeing noted work on the 777x will include composite wing fabrication and assembly. “Current mechanics will have the opportunity to be trained for this new composite work, which could set the stage for the next generation of manufacturing innovation in the Puget Sound region,” the statement said.

Gov. Jay Inslee said after the vote Friday night that he wanted “to thank each Machinist, no matter how they voted” and said the tax-incentive package passed by the Legislature ensures those incentives only occur if Boeing builds the 777X in Washington state for the life of the airliner, with no possible second lines opened up elsewhere.

“There will not be any more South Carolinas like that, that occurred on the 787″ Dreamliner, when Boeing opened up a second line for manufacture of that aircraft in Charleston, S.C., Inslee said.

“Tonight, Washington state secured its future as the aerospace capital of the world. To make that happen, the International Association of Machinists District 751 took a hard vote that demands the respect of all Washingtonians who will benefit from having Boeing build the 777X here.

“We have a history of innovation in our state that has gotten us to this point today and will chart our future for decades to come. Fabrication of the carbon fiber wing gives us a path to the forefront of the next generation of aerospace manufacturing and the start of a new industry for our state.

“Tonight, Washington showed the world we can design our future,” Inslee said. “We look forward to seeing the jetliner of the future take off and help us build a Washington that works for everyone.”

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.

photoEVERETT — Members of the International Associations of Machinists local 751 vote on the latest contract offer from Boeing Today.
Workers began showing up at union halls across the region. Voting began at 5 a.m. and will go until 6 p.m. tonight.
Boeing says the contract up for a vote is its best and final offer. Union officials say the offer is no good. It would raise healthcare costs and cut pensions by 2016 and move towards a 401k retirement plan. The pension change has been a major sticking point for local union leaders who continue to urge its members to vote “no” on the contract offer.

If the machinists accept this contract offer it would guarantee decades of work and guarantee that the new 777x would be built in the Puget Sound.

Boeing released a statement on Thursday saying, “this contract keeps the IAM workforce above market in wages, health care and the retirement benefits. If the contract is ratified, the 777x will be built in the Puget Sound area by Boeing employees represented by the IAM.”

On Monday, local leaders including mayors from Kent and Everett held a press conference urging the machinists to vote yes, saying the future of Boeing’s presence rests directly in the hands of union employees.

“There is no option here other than a yes on the contract or else we’re all in this together.  We will see the demise of the economic stimulus that Boeing has provided us,” Kent Mayor Suzete Cooke said.

 Boeing has repeatedly stated if the union votes down the contract offer they will look elsewhere to build the 777x. Union leaders argue that the latest offer will have a major impact on its members.

“Our best estimates is this is going to lower our members retirement income by 2/3rds,” Union rep Bryan Corliss said.  Corliss says Boeing would be making a huge mistake if they decide to build the new jet elsewhere.

“All of the objective industry analysts, third party research says that Washington State, Puget Sound, is the best place for Boeing to build the 777x.  It’s their best bet for success with this program.,” Corliss said.

Local union leadership is at odds with its national leadership.  Recently, the president of the Machinist Union, Tom Buffenbarger said the workers may want to consider having their pensions frozen or face the reality of losing jobs in the future.

Back in November, the machinist union workers voted down the last contract offer from Boeing by 2-to-1.  The pension was the big sticking point, which still remains the biggest issue with this latest vote.

 Results of the vote today could come as early as 9:30 tonight.

SEATTLE — Machinists will have the chance to vote on Boeing’s latest contract offer Friday. What they decide could determine whether the new 777x airliner is built in Western Washington.

At a rally at Seattle Union Hall Thursday afternoon, members of the International Association of Machinists were fired up about Boeing’s latest contract offer. They said they’re skilled workers who are responsible for Boeing’s success over the years. So they don’t think they should be losing their pensions to keep their jobs.

boeing“I believe this contract is incredibly destructive to the 78 years of hard-earned gains that we have fought for,” said union member Robley Evans.

In November, Machinists rejected Boeing’s first offer by a 2-to-1 margin. Many say the new offer is no better, and it should be voted down, too. But they’re not sure if it will be.

“I think they’re forcing the vote on us and it’s horrible timing,” said Justin Strebe. “A lot of people are still on vacation. I don’t think the absentee ballot system is going to work, so I don’t think everyone’s going to get their chance.”

There is also concern about the outside pressure being put on Machinists to accept this offer.

“We’ve got the government leaning on us, we’ve got the international (union leaders) leaning on us, we’ve got the community leaning on us,” said Evans.

Boeing has said they’ll look at other sites to build the 777x, if this contract isn’t accepted.

Some Machinists said they don’t want to take that risk.

“If they move it, then you don`t have new hires. You have thousands of layoffs. There will never be new hires,” said union member Mauri Osterberg.

“I’m going to vote yes, because I would like to secure a long-term contract for our community that`ll guarantee jobs,” added union member Martin Walters.

Boeing hasn’t commented on the specifics of their offer, but they did release a statement late Thursday, saying in part:

“This contract keeps the IAM workforce above market in wages, health care and retirement benefits.”

It goes on to explain the work on the 777x will include composite wing fabrication and assembly.

“Current mechanics will have the opportunity to be trained for this new composite work, which could set the stage for the next generation of manufacturing innovation in the Puget Sound region,” the statement said.

Many at Thursday’s rally are confident they’ll get that work in the end. But they say they’re not going to sacrifice their retirements to guarantee it.

“I feel we have to make this stand, and I don`t feel we`re making that much of a risk. I think they’re bluffing. It`s too risky for them to leave here, there`s too much they have at stake here,” said Strebe.

Voting will take place at five different locations in the Puget Sound region, from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.

Vote results will include ballots from union members in Kansas, Oregon and Washington.  The estimated time for results to be announced is between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday, the union said Thursday night.

SEATTLE — Hundreds of Machinists packed the Seattle Union Hall Thursday afternoon for a “Vote No” rally ahead of the vote on Boeing’s latest contract offer Friday.

In November, members of the Machinists union overwhelmingly rejected Boeing’s initial offer, which included benefit rollbacks from their current contract.  The company said it needed the proposed contract approved in order to build the planned Boeing 777X in Washington state.

BdA8fNaCAAALFbYUnion members said they didn’t like that Boeing wanted them to replace their current pension plan with a 401k retirement account and to make employees work up to 16 years before achieving top pay.

Even though there have been some concessions in this new Boeing offer, such as eliminating the longer wage-scale ladder, the International Association of Machinists says it’s still a bad deal.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said in a written statement: “This contract keeps the IAM workforce above market in wages, health care and retirement benefits. If the contract is ratified, the 777X will be built in the Puget Sound area by Boeing employees represented by the IAM. This work includes fuselage build, final assembly and major components fabrication such as interiors and wires.

“The work also includes the composite wing fabrication and assembly. There is no other composite wing production facility in the U.S. today. Current mechanics will have the opportunity to be trained for this new composite work, which could set the stage for the next generation of manufacturing innovation in the Puget Sound region. In addition, Boeing commits to fabricate and assemble the 737 MAX in the Puget Sound and KC-46 Tanker and P-8 production work in Puget Sound and Portland through 2024.”

Machinists union members say there’s been more pressure from government officials and the community on the vote this time around. They’re being urged to accept the contract to ensure the 777x is built here.

But they say that voting yes would set a dangerous precedent.

“It sets a way for Boeing to continue to do these types of deals every two or three years, where they’re going to hold other programs over our heads, and blackmail us into taking huge concessions. We have to stop it, we have to stop it right now,” says Machinist member Robley Evans.

There is some concern about how many union members will be able to vote Friday.  The union has tried to spread the word and offered absentee ballots to make sure everyone has a chance to have their say.

Vote results will include ballots from union members in Kansas, Oregon and Washington.  Voting ends at 6 p.m. Friday (PT) and the estimated time for results to be announced is between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday.

Boeing Pension BattleTheir voices might not be the loudest in the war between Boeing and union machinists, but they’ve already won one battle. A contingent of Boeing workers, who demanded and succeeded in pushing for a vote on the company’s latest offer, is now encouraging other union members to support the contract that could secure Washington’s  aerospace future for decades to come.

Facebook page urging union leadership to “Give Us A Voice” appears to be gaining supporters. One post includes a rebuttal of union leadership’s reasons for advising a “no” vote on the contract.

“The Union wants you to be confused so you throw your hands up in the air and vote no because it’s a ‘bad’ contract according to the union,” the rebuttal states. Other posts encourage supporters to “stand strong” and not be bullied into voting against the contract.

Machinists overwhelmingly rejected Boeing’s initial contract offer in November, pointing out the lack of a pension plan as a deal-breaker. They’ll vote again Friday, January 3.

Local News
01/02/14

Boeing releases statement in advance of contract vote

SEATTLE — Boeing Co. released a statement reiterating the benefits of the latest offer to machinists one day before thousands of workers around the Puget Sound were scheduled to vote on the contract.

Boeing highlighted the benefits of the contract presented to International Association of Machinists (IAM) in Dec. The contract is a slightly revised version of the one rejected by a majority of union workers in November.

Tax breaks for Boeing“This contract keeps the IAM workforce above market in wages, health care and retirement benefits,” Boeing officials said in a statement. “If the contract is ratified, the 777X will be built in the Puget Sound area by Boeing employees represented by the IAM.”

Machinists will line up and vote by absentee ballot Friday. Many consider this to be the final time a revised contract will be offered to workers to build the 777X fuselage and assemble the plane.

Local machinists leaders have called for workers to reject the contract, saying it gets rid of a employer-guaranteed pension.

Boeing has reportedly looked at as many as 50 alternative sites to build the airplane, with as many as 25 states vying for the business.

Here is the complete text released by Boeing officials Thursday:

This contract keeps the IAM workforce above market in wages, health care and retirement benefits.

If the contract is ratified, the 777X will be built in the Puget Sound area by Boeing employees represented by the IAM. This work includes fuselage build, final assembly and major components fabrication such as interiors and wires.

The work also includes the composite wing fabrication and assembly. There is no other composite wing production facility in the U.S. today. Current mechanics will have the opportunity to be trained for this new composite work, which could set the stage for the next generation of manufacturing innovation in the Puget Sound region.

In addition, Boeing commits to fabricate and assemble the 737 MAX in the Puget Sound and KC-46 Tanker and P-8 production work in Puget Sound and Portland through 2024.

SEATTLE — Union leaders with the Machinists Union local 751 will hold a rally outside of its Seattle headquarters at 4 p.m. Thursday, urging its members to vote no on the latest contract offer from Boeing.

Thursday) is the deadline for absentee ballots to be mailed out to be counted for the upcoming vote.

According to the Union leadership for the Machinists Union local 751, absentee ballot requests must be made via email by no later than noon today.

Boeing: Machinists Union LatestMachinists union members will head to their local union halls to vote on a new contract offer from Boeing on Friday.  The contract would increase healthcare costs and cut pensions, favoring instead a 401k retirement plan.  The pension change has been a major sticking point for local union leaders who continue to urge its members to vote “no” on the contract offer.

If the machinists accept this contract offer it would guarantee decades of work and guarantee that the new 777x would be built in the Puget Sound.

On Monday, local leaders including mayors from Kent and Everett held a press conference urging the machinists to vote yes, saying the future of Boeing’s presence rests directly in the hands of union employees.

“There is no option here other than a yes on the contract or else we’re all in this together.  We will see the demise of the economic stimulus that Boeing has provided us,” Kent Mayor Suzete Cooke said.

Boeing has repeatedly stated if the union votes down the contract offer they will look elsewhere to build the 777x.

Union leaders argue that the latest offer will have a major impact on its members.

“Our best estimates is this is going to lower our members retirement income by 2/3rds,” Union rep Bryan Corliss said.

Corliss said Boeing would be making a huge mistake if they decide to build the new jet elsewhere. “All of the objective industry analysts, third party research says that Washington State, Puget Sound, is the best place for Boeing to build the 777x.  It’s their best bet for success with this program,” Corliss said.

Local union leadership is at odds with its national leadership.  Recently, the president of the Machinist Union, Tom Buffenbarger said the workers may want to consider having their pensions frozen or face the reality of losing jobs in the future.

In November, the machinist union workers voted down the last contract offer from Boeing by 2-to-1. The pension was the big sticking point, which still remains the biggest issue with this latest vote.

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