Union rejects ‘final offer’ to keep 777X in Washington

By Andy Owens
aowens@scbiznews.com
Published Dec. 12, 2013

Union leaders rejected a counteroffer tonight by the Boeing Co. that would have placed production of the 777X in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s the second rejection by the union in a month, after members of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751 voted Nov. 13 to reject a proposal from Boeing that would have extended and modified an existing contract.

Union leaders rejected a counteroffer tonight by the Boeing Co. that would have placed production of the 777X in the Pacific Northwest. It was the second rejection by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers after members of District 751 voted Nov. 13 to reject a contract proposal from Boeing. (Photo/Boeing Co.)
Union leaders rejected a counteroffer tonight by the Boeing Co. that would have placed production of the 777X in the Pacific Northwest. It was the second rejection by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers after members of District 751 voted Nov. 13 to reject a contract proposal from Boeing. (Photo/Boeing Co.)
Boeing said today’s counterproposal, which was in response to a “preliminary offer” from the Machinists on Wednesday, was its “best and final offer” to the union, echoing some of the language that sent the second final assembly line of the 787 Dreamliner to North Charleston in 2009.

“This afternoon, in response to a proposal presented yesterday by the union to secure 777X work in the Puget Sound region, Boeing presented a best and final counterproposal. That offer was rejected by the union leadership,” Boeing said in a statement.

Nov. 14, the day after the Machinists rejected the first proposal, Boeing opened up the 777X site selection process. Proposals from 15 sites were to have been submitted by Tuesday. Boeing said it has received proposals from 22 states, and many submitted multiple sites for the work.

Long Beach, Calif., Huntsville, Ala., St. Louis and North Charleston have been thought to be top contenders along with Everett, Wash. The company said 54 sites are now being evaluated for the 777X.

Part of Boeing’s counteroffer included a $15,000 signing bonus for union members and additional dental benefits. The proposal also would have kept in place the way employees accelerate to the top of the pay scale, which was a major sticking point in November.

But Boeing’s earlier changes to the union’s retirement plan would have stayed in place, allowing employees to keep their pension accruals until November 2016 but then moving them to a defined contribution plan that’s more like a 401(k), with retirement contributions from the company.

“We entered these discussions to address the concerns we were hearing from our employees,” said Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We’ve listened to the union leadership and had an open dialogue in hopes of moving toward each other. Unfortunately, the offer, which would have ensured this great airplane for the Puget Sound region, was immediately rejected by the union leadership.”

At the Dubai Air Show in November, Boeing officials said they would make a decision about the location of the 777X assembly in two to three months.

Email Print

Do you give this article a thumbs up? Thumbs_upYes

Comments: