The machinists’ union in Washington state just voted down a contract with Boeing that included $10,000 signing bonuses, but also concessions like turning pension plans into 401k’s and employees contributing a little more for their health insurance. Because the union failed to reach a deal with Boeing, the company may move production of the 777X out of Washington, and a lot of jobs with it.
To me it seems insane that the workers voted against a deal that would pretty much guarantee them good jobs for nearly a decade. Then again, perhaps they would have reconsidered if they, and their local union leadership, weren’t shut out of the talks by the party bosses in Washington, DC.
By all accounts, IAM leadership in Washington, D.C., and Boeing representatives kept leaders of Seattle-based District 751 in the dark about the contract talks before presenting the porposal to them less than two weeks ago. The offer called for major concessions — including trading pensions for 401(k) plans and increasing health care costs — in exchange for placing 777X final assembly in Everett and a $10,000 signing bonus, among other promises.
Local union leaders tried to block the Boeing proposal from even being put to a vote by the membership but were overruled by national IAM leaders. The leaders from the East Coast called the shots after that, prohibiting District 751 leaders from speaking publicly about the offer.
District 751′s roughly 32,000 members were caught off guard. It appeared that the local leaders they elected were willing to give up hard-fought economic gains without member consent or similar concessions from labor leaders and Boeing executives.
In addition to the international union secretly negotiating behind local members’ backs, that arank-and-file representative would have to fear speaking out publicly “for fear of retaliation” goes even further to explain Boeing’s union problem.
I don’t feel bad for anyone in this whole scenario. The workers don’t know a good deal when they see it, just wait until Boeing is gone and they see what it’s like finding a decent job in this economy. Local leadership probably lies to them about reality. The big union bosses are just greedy and power hungry. And Boeing has the Export-Import bank financing billions of dollars in loans that help to keep the company in business. Taxpayers take all the risk for those loans and the Ex-Im keeps all of the profits. Basically, they all suck.