Union: Boeing’s China plan ’causes grave concern’
SEATTLE — The leaders of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 say they’re committed to explore all avenues — contractually, legally and legislatively — to preserve and protect Washington state aerospace jobs.
“We understand the importance of selling airplanes to customers around the world,” the union’s leadership said in a statement emailed to members Thursday. “However, the work we do seems to be what is offered as a bargaining chip.”
The statement came after news reports that the Boeing Co. has agreed to a deal to establish a jet completion center in China, where Chinese workers would install interiors, apply exterior paint, conduct flight tests and deliver 737s built at Boeing’s Renton, Wash., plant.
The work is done now by Machinists Union members.
Boeing has hinted at a desire to collaborate with China in the past, union officials said, but the company has been unwilling to provide any specifics about the deal it reportedly will sign during Chinese President Xi Jianping’s visit next week.
“We have asked the company for details of what is intended with ‘collaboration’ and have not received any information on the proposed collaboration — or to confirm or dispute the media reports,” IAM 751 leaders said. “While we don’t know specifics … any shift of aerospace jobs from our bargaining unit or Washington state causes grave concern.”
Boeing’s eagerness to ship U.S. jobs overseas “justifies our fight for aerospace tax incentive accountability,” the union’s leadership added. “We will continue to work hard to make sure legislators in the state of Washington understand they must secure a guaranteed number of jobs in any deal that gives billions of dollars in tax incentives.”
Along with helping pay for Boeing to receive the nation’s largest corporate tax incentives, Machinists Union members in Washington state have overcome huge hurdles to push 737 production to record levels — and they agreed to give up “real benefits worth billions,” the union noted.
These factors “should have earned our members and our state the right to secure this work,” the union said.
Originally formed in 1935 by Boeing workers in Seattle, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 33,000 working men and women at 52 employers across Washington and California.
For a complete text of IAM 751’s statement about Boeing moving American work to China, click here: