BOEING MACHINIST'S UNION REJECTS CONTRACT OFFER: STRIKE VOTE IS SET
August 30, 2008
(EVERET, WA) -- It’s now official. Boeing’s 7,000-member machinist’s union, the International Association of Machinists, has voted to reject Boeing’s latest contract offer and take a strike vote. Thousands of Boeing machinists marched at Boeing's jet plant in Everett Friday morning, a march punctuated by a large banner hung from a balcony that said simply "Strike!" A short time later union members declared their rejection of the company’s contract offer made Thursday of last week.
Union members will vote Wednesday. If two-thirds of voters heed the recommendation of union officials, a strike will begin at midnight.
If the IAM does strike, Boeing engineers and other non-Machinists would continue to work at company plants but production would shut down at the jet-assembly plants in Everett and Renton and at the parts plants in Auburn and Frederickson in Puyallup. It is thought that much of the fabrication and production work at the military-aircraft and technology-research centers in Seattle would also come to a halt.
Also, assembly work on the already delayed 787 Dreamliner would be suspended for as long as a strike lasts. The first Dreamliner off the production line is set to fly in November.
There’s roughly 26,000 IAM workers are in the Puget Sound region. There’s 1500 more in Portland and about 800 more at the defense-aircraft modification plant in Wichita, Kan.
Union officials gave many reasons for rejecting the contract offer; they include lack of job security commitments, increases in the cost of medical plans and pay and pension increases that failed to meet union members' expectations.
Union members not satisfied with the contract offer included relatively new Boeing hires who are lower on the wage scale. The proposed contract would give them smaller percentage wage increases than more senior workers.