Union: We were willing to give labor peace

SEATTLE – Talks between the Boeing Co. and Machinists Union District Lodge 751 have ended after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a proposed contract extension that would have guaranteed the 777X would be built in Washington state.

777XFoldedWings“Our members want to build the 777X, and we believe Boeing’s best chance for success for this vital airplane program is for our members to build it here,” said District 751 President Tom Wroblewski.

“However, the price Boeing demanded was too high,” he continued. “Our senior leadership team could not recommend Boeing’s counter-offer.”

“On Wednesday, the union had offered Boeing a preliminary contract proposal that would have guaranteed the company a total of 16 years of labor peace by extending the current contract, which has been in place since 2008, until 2024.

“Boeing’s leadership has said time and again during this process that this was a top priority, and we were wiling to give them that,” Wroblewski said. “We were willing to give them labor peace.”

However, Boeing’s counter-offer on Thursday was mostly unchanged from the proposal that Machinists had rejected by a 2-to-1 margin on Nov. 13, demanding steep concession in retirement and health benefits while limiting future pay increases.

Boeing’s offer Thursday was contingent on union leadership recommending acceptance, Wroblewski said.

“This we could not do,” he said. “Our members had already rejected this.”

Wroblewski said the union will continue to make the case that Washington is the best place for Boeing to build the 777X, which is the latest derivative of Boeing’s best-selling widebody jet.

“Machinists Union pay and benefits make up less than 5 percent of the total cost of building an airplane,” he said. “And for these pennies on the dollar, Boeing gets in return the most-skilled, most-productive aerospace workers in the world

“Any objective analysis will show that Boeing’s best business case is to build the 777X in Washington, utilizing the skills, experience and dedication of our Machinists Union members,” he concluded.

Wroblewski said he does not regret attempting to negotiate a new deal. “Going back to the table was the responsible thing to do,” he said. “We just couldn’t get to an agreement. Again, the price was too high.”

3 Responses to “Union: We were willing to give labor peace”
  1. Steve says:

    Rejecting this offer was strategically and morally correct. It should Not be voted on. Dropping a last/best/final offer in response to an initial bargaining offer is a tactic Boeing started in 2002. It should NOT be tolerated.

  2. Jeff Gronotte says:

    With this new forced vote by the national union. How about making it a fair vote and make sure everybody gets a chance to vote. The Jan 3rd is not going to be a fair vote, as many people could still be out of town on vacation. I know someone that still want’s to vote no and they won’t be able to because they will be in California at this time. Can the vote date be change to Jan 10th when most may be back from their holiday vacationing?? This is not right to rush this vote, with the chance of many people not being able to vote.

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