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Ashley Gross

Several hundred Boeing machinists and supporters gathered in a Seattle union hall Thursday to urge members to reject Boeing’s contract offer.

The rally came on the eve of a crucial vote on what Boeing has called its best and final offer. Acceptance of the labor deal by some 30,000 local machinists would guarantee 777 assembly work for the Puget Sound area.

But local union leaders are urging members to reject the offer, saying the workers are asked to make concessions even though the company is having a profitable run.

AP Photo

Boeing's contract proposal to machinists in the Puget Sound region would likely increase some workers' annual base salaries to more than $100,000 in the coming years.

The offer going to a vote this week would slow the growth of machinists' wages starting in 2016, but workers would still get regular cost-of-living adjustments and an additional 1 percent raise every other year.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Boeing has told local political leaders that this week's vote by Machinists will determine the fate of some jobs on the new 777X airplane.

In a press conference Monday morning, local politicians gathered in Everett to discuss the importance of approving the contract. They said Boeing executive Ray Conner told them in a meeting that the union vote will decide whether the new 777X composite wing is built in the region.

AP Photo

Local political leaders in Washington state are gathering to discuss the importance of the 777X airplane.

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson and others plan a press conference Monday to discuss Boeing ahead of a Friday vote by the Machinists union. Local Machinists leaders oppose the new contract offer, but Stephanson and others have urged them to approve the deal.

AP Photo

The international president of the machinists union says Boeing's revised contract offer is an improvement of more than $1 billion.

In a letter to union members, Tom Buffenbarger said the offer that workers will consider next week is a significant improvement over a contract the union rejected last month.

Cindy Hohlbein

Rex Hohlbein had been designing luxurious homes for more than two decades when his life began to shift.

He began inviting homeless people into the office of his architecture firm to warm up, use the bathroom and get a cup of coffee. Pretty soon, he found it hard to spend his days designing million-dollar homes when he was meeting so many people he found sleeping in tents or under a doorway.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Consumer activist and failed presidential candidate Ralph Nader has some words for Boeing.

In an open letter to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney on Thursday, Nader said the company's effort to squeeze worker pensions and pay is "unseemly." He cited McNerney's salary as one reason and the tax advantages the company is receiving as another.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story stated voting will take place on Jan. 3. However, according to a spokesman for the union's international headquarters, the exact date is still being finalized.

Local Boeing machinists will have a chance to vote on the company's "best and final" offer, the acceptance of which would guarantee assembly of the next 777 wide-body jet and the fabrication of the plane's carbon-fiber wing for the Puget Sound region.  

Associated Press

Boeing says it has begun telling states whether they're still in the running to build its new 777X.

Boeing has gotten proposals from 22 states covering 54 locations that all want to build the plane. Boeing says it is narrowing the list down and is telling each location its status in the process. Boeing isn't releasing the list publicly.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee says he stands by the decision to extend nearly $9 billion in tax breaks to Boeing in an effort to win the 777X. But in comments made Thursday, he made it clear he doesn’t like playing the corporate tax subsidy game. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Some lawmakers say they didn't receive campaign contributions from Boeing until after voting on a tax break for the company.

Boeing's political committee had reported in records to the state Public Disclosure Commission that it gave the maximum donation of $900 to seven lawmakers a few days before the Legislature approved tax incentives valued at some $9 billion.

Ashley Gross

Tempers are running high among Boeing machinists as the company evaluates potential sites to build the next 777 jet. That became evident at a small rally outside the machinists' union hall in Everett Wednesday. 

Machinists who want to push their union leaders to let them vote on the company's last contract offer organized the rally and said about 80 people would show up. But they only drew about 40. That group marched to the union hall from the company's Everett factory chanting "Give us a voice!" About  a dozen counter-protesters arrived, yelling, "We already voted!"

The rally turned into a shouting match, with the two sides arguing about things like whether a 401(k) is a good retirement plan. One shouted that he suspected voter fraud in the union's November vote over Boeing's labor proposal.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A Boeing worker in Renton has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the machinists union.

Timothy Limestall says local leaders of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers failed to provide enough information about Boeing’s contract extension offer that members voted on last month.

Bob Edme / Associated Press

Even as they try desperately to hang on to Boeing Co., officials in Washington state have been courting the main competitor of the aerospace giant.

During the past several months, state officials have traveled to the U.S. headquarters of Airbus SAS in Virginia, moved to connect Airbus with Washington state suppliers, and signed a five-year confidentiality agreement with the company to allow further exploration of business opportunities, according to records obtained by The Associated Press under public disclosure laws.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Some Boeing machinists angry at their union leaders plan to ask for help from the National Labor Relations Board.

They’re upset that local leaders from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers turned down Boeing’s best and final offer without putting it to members for a vote. The offer would have secured assembly of the next 777 jet in Washington state along with the carbon-fiber wing fabrication. 

Boeing machinists in Washington state are trying to figure out whether they'll have a chance to vote on an offer the company made Thursday that would guarantee production of the 777X wide-body jet in the Puget Sound region. 

The Boeing Co.

A machinists union is mulling the logistics of having its members in the Puget Sound vote on a proposed contract from Boeing Co., even after local union leaders said they couldn't recommend it to their members.

International Association of Machinists spokesman Frank Larkin said the union has been hearing from hundreds of members demanding an opportunity to vote on the contract to secure work on the 777X airplane.

Reed Saxon / Associated Press

Boeing says its research and technology workforce in Washington state will probably shrink by as many as 1,200 jobs as the company shifts work to other states including Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina.

The news comes on a day when many people in Washington are waiting to hear whether Boeing will accept a preliminary contract proposal from the machinists’ union. The union is seeking to reach an agreement with the company that would guarantee production of the next 777 jet in the Puget Sound region, securing thousands of jobs.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The machinists’ union has presented a labor proposal to the Boeing Company, local union leaders said late Wednesday afternoon. 

The details of the proposal have not been released. The union made the announcement after an hours-long meeting with Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Ray Conner and other company executives Wednesday, raising hopes that the two sides may strike an agreement to build the next 777 wide-body jet in the Puget Sound region.

“We tried to craft a proposal that would meet the needs of our members, while also ensuring the long-term success of the Boeing Co. in Washington state,” said Tom Wroblewski, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751, in a statement. The union said it expects a response from Boeing by Thursday.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

As time runs out for Washington state to make its case to Boeing that it should build its next 777 wide-body jet here, the state’s Congressional delegation is weighing in with a letter to the company’s top executives.

The lawmakers touted their support and advocacy for important issues to Boeing and their pro-aerospace voting record.

“We are the aerospace industry’s strongest allies and loudest advocates in Congress,” the letter said.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Tuesday is the deadline is for states to submit their bids to Boeing in hopes of winning the 777X assembly line.

Washington is competing with more than a dozen other locations to build the next generation wide-body airliner. The competitors include Utah, California, Missouri and Alabama.  

Anna King

Northwest wine grape growers expect this week’s very cold weather to do some damage to their vineyards. But it’s not clear yet how much of next year’s fruit might be affected.

Deep cold on wine vines isn’t good, but several factors determine just how bad it is. There’s the cold itself, and how long it lasts. There’s the elevation, colder air tends to settle in lower valleys. Then, there’s the variety of grape—is it German-tough or less cold-hardy Mediterranean?

Reed Saxon / AP Photo

Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to incentives for Boeing to assemble to a new passenger airplane in the St. Louis area.

The House voted 127-20-2 Friday for the legislation that authorizes as much as $1.7 billion of incentives over more than two decades for Boeing to produce the 777X jetliner. The legislation passed the Senate on Wednesday by a 23-8 vote.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

How do you create jobs in Seattle and Alaska? By building fishing boats here and hiring workers who might otherwise only get jobs in fast-food restaurants.

That’s the message from a roundtable gathered for U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, in Seattle Thursday.

The problem is access to capital, according to the panel of representatives of the shipbuilding industry that builds and supports fishing boats for Seattle’s fleet.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The president of the St. Louis machinists union now says he’s “prepared and ready to sit down with Boeing” to discuss moving 777X production to Missouri. The union chief’s comments Thursday come one day after he said the work should remain in Washington.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Dozens of fast-food workers and activists took to the streets Thursday for a day-long march in support of $15 minimum wage.

The march began in SeaTac, where voters approved a $15 minimum wage this year, and headed for Seattle City Hall as a symbolic push for Seattle to follow SeaTac’s suit and adopt the higher wage.

The president of the machinists union in St. Louis says Boeing should build the 777X in Washington. And he’s angrily denying reports that his members would accept the Boeing contract recently rejected by Northwest machinists.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Kansas is assembling an economic incentive package geared at landing a new Boeing contract to build the aviation giant's 777X commercial aircraft.

Administration officials say Wednesday they can't divulge details of the Kansas package, citing a nondisclosure agreement signed with Boeing when talks began in recent weeks.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

A team at Washington’s Department of Commerce is working to complete a lengthy questionnaire for Boeing as part of a multi-state competition to land the 777X assembly line.

Meantime, state lawmakers in Missouri convened Monday in a special session aimed at improving that state’s chances.

Allison Moore

The coffee world has been abuzz lately with news of barista robots—machines that can custom-make a cappuccino or chai latte. Naturally, the question becomes whether the world’s largest coffee chain, Seattle-based Starbucks, would replace humans with automation. 

In a world where robots build cars, fulfill orders in Amazon warehouses and paint the wings on Boeing’s 777 jet, making a latte by machine isn’t that much of a leap.

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