Machinists Union

Ashley Gross / KPLU

It's decision day for some 30,000 Boeing machinists who are voting on a controversial eight-year labor proposal.

Boeing told the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 751 its members need to accept the contract extension in order to ensure the next wide-body 777X jet is built in Washington state.

Ashley Gross

Dozens of machinists gathered outside Boeing’s Everett facility on Monday, chanting “Vote no! Vote no!” in protest of the company’s latest labor offer.

More than 100 workers, some carrying signs of protest and wearing T-shirts with the same message, rallied to voice their rejection of Boeing’s eight-year offer, which calls for the freezing of workers’ pensions starting in 2016.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

It’s official: Boeing will get nearly $9 billion in tax incentives from the state of Washington in a deal aimed to guarantee Boeing will build its 777X and carbon-fiber wings in the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed his name to the tax breaks Monday morning after legislators approved the deal over the weekend. Inslee told reporters that the state has a lot to gain.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The brinkmanship at play between Boeing and its 30,000 machinists over an eight-year contract proposal is a dramatic new chapter in the broader labor movement, says Leon Grunberg, a professor of sociology at the University of Puget Sound.

Stephen Brashear / Associated Press

Boeing wants its machinists’ union to accept big concessions on retirement and health benefits in exchange for winning the assembly of the 777X wide-body jet in the Puget Sound region. But machinists are also worried the contract casts doubt on the future of the 737MAX in Renton. 

Boeing Media image

More than 30,000 Boeing Machinists are studying a proposal that would spell labor peace for the next four years if it’s approved. But  some union members are concerned about aspects of the deal.

Lingering questions

One of the top concerns among union members has to do with how solid Boeing’s commitment to Renton really is. Property near the factory where the 737 is built has been sold off over the years.

Associated Press

Boeing and the Machinists union have apparently reached a four-year contract deal as well as a deal to build the 737 MAX in Renton and have the union’s labor complaint dropped.

“We look forward to new era of prosperity for IAM and Boeing,” said Tom Wroblewski, president of Machinists Union District 751.

Wroblewski added that the secret meetings started out as conversations about the 737 and evolved into a full-blown contract deal because outside influences were dampened and the negotiation climate was right.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Last week, Boeing opened a new plant in South Carolina, where it's putting the second assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner.

That’s led to a fight between the aerospace giant and the National Labor Relations Board. The nation’s top enforcer of labor laws filed a complaint against Boeing in April. Proceedings in the case begin Tuesday in Seattle. 

The NLRB alleges Boeing built the second assembly line for the Dreamliner in South Carolina as retaliation for past strikes by the Machinists union in Washington state.  And that, it says, is against the law.

Associated Press

The Machinists Union says it's surprised and disappointed to hear of plans by Congress to hold a hearing next week over the federal labor lawsuit against Boeing. 

The National Labor Relations Board has filed suit against the aerospace giant claiming the company moved manufacturing facilities to South Carolina to avoid unionized workers.  A hearing on that issue starts Tuesday morning in Seattle.  Now the NLRB's attorney is being summoned to a hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government later in the week.

Flickr, by aflcio/ Bernard Pollack

Organized labor flexed its muscles recently in our region, showing their influence behind the scenes. There won’t be any protests on the evening news.  But the threat of large-scale demonstrations this week by the Machinists Union and its supporters culminated in the cancellation of a conference meant to lure aerospace manufacturing to Mexico. It was scheduled to take place tomorrow in Seattle.  

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