Machinists voting on labor contract extension

Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

Machinists still were lining up at 5:45 Wednesday night in Everett to vote on whether to extend their labor contract with the Boeing Co.

The polls at union halls around the Puget Sound region were to close at 6 p.m.

If the union approves the four-year deal, the company has agreed to build its new 737 MAX in Renton. In return, the Machinists will ask to drop a troublesome federal lawsuit against Boeing.

Besides guaranteeing 737 work in Renton, the company would give Machinists a $5,000 signing bonus, if the contract is approved. Union members also will receive 2 percent annual raises and yearly increases in pension. The company will include Machinists in an incentive plan that could pay between 2 percent and 4 percent of their annual gross earnings.

Machinists’ opinions of the contract were mixed, though most thought the contract would pass.

Machinist Bert Bryant found nothing in the contract to dislike and voted to approve Boeing’s offer. Bryant has only worked for Boeing for six months and said “only the old-timers are complaining” about the contract.

Sambo Seng has worked at Boeing for a decade. She thought the contract would pass but had concerns about the annual raises and the increase to health care costs.

About 16,000 union members were eligible to vote in Everett. The union represents about 29,000 Machinists in the region.

The union expects to announce the vote results between 8 and 9 p.m.

Check heraldnet.com for updates.