Machinists vote today on Boeing contract extension

Machinists have a lot riding on their votes today as they decide whether to accept a contract extension with the Boeing Co.

At stake for the Machinists: work on Boeing’s 737 MAX. For Boeing, the deal would rid the company of an ongoing federal labor dispute.

Both sides, as well as the Puget Sound region, would get the benefit of labor peace for the next five years. During the last round of contract negotiations in 2008, the Machinists struck Boeing for 57 days, effectively shutting down jet production.

Machinists union leaders have recommended their 29,000 members in the region approve the deal, which would extend their contract to September 2016. Union leaders say the contract addresses their members’ top concern: job security.

Earlier this year, Boeing said it hadn’t decided where it would build its re-engined 737 MAX jet. For decades, the company has assembled the existing 737 aircraft in Renton. Boeing has more than 700 commitments for its new 737 MAX jet, which was launched in August.

“If our employees ratify a new agreement, building the 737 MAX in Renton will secure a long and prosperous future there,” Jim Albaugh, president of Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, said in a statement.

Boeing’s contract offer includes 2-percent annual wage increases, a $5,000 signing bonus and an incentive program. It also preserves the pension plan and early retiree medical benefits for existing and new Machinists — both are benefits Boeing previously sought to eliminate. However, the contract will increase the cost of health insurance to union members.

On Tuesday, Machinists spokeswoman Connie Kelliher noted that the economy’s in much tougher shape in 2011 compared to when the contract was being negotiated in 2008. The union asked for larger wage increases in 2008 because the Machinists hadn’t received pay raises with the previous contract.

“Negotiations are about give and take and to achieve gains in job security, pension and wages, we had to be willing to compromise elsewhere,” union leaders wrote in a message to Machinists.

Part of that compromise includes asking the National Labor Relations Board to drop its lawsuit against Boeing. At the union’s request, the labor board has accused Boeing of illegally retaliating against the Machinists for strikes by putting 787 work in South Carolina. Boeing denied the charge.

The contract also would establish a joint council with union and Boeing leaders working together on issues the company faces. Union leaders say the council will “foster a better working relationship between the company and the union.”

Labor peace is something local government and business leaders view as a good thing for the economy. In its monthly home sales report released Monday, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service pointed to job security at Boeing as a good sign for the Puget Sound region’s housing market.

Machinists contract vote

When: Polls open 5 a.m. to 6 p.m today.

Where: Machinists’ hall, 8729 Airport Road, Everett.

Who: About 16,000 Everett Machinists are eligible to vote.

Results: To be announced around 9 p.m.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Owners Krista and Eric Brown sit among rows of wines at The Grape & Grain, a new independent beer and wine store on Evergreen Way, on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New Everett wine and beer shop focuses on local brands

The Grape & Grain store offers wine and beer from “our backyard” — Washington, Oregon and California.

Chai Cupboard is a new loose tea and spice shop downtown, owned by Jeni Ellis and husband Tim, on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New downtown Everett store offers loose tea and spices

Bring your tea caddy or spice jar: Chai Cupboard carries more than 100 teas and 100 spices.

Highland Simulant, a simulated lunar soil made by Off Planet Research, pours from a researcher's hands. Photo credit: Off Planet Research
Space company makes a soft landing at the Port of Everett

Off Planet Research creates simulated lunar soils here, so that moon landers can touch down gently.

The Waterfront Place Apartments north building at the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place cold see residents moving in by May 15. on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Now playing at the Port of Everett: sudden density

New Waterfront Place Apartments open May 15 at the port — local retailers welcome the influx.

Students use a modular skills trainer during class Thursday morning at Edmonds Community College on April 29, 2021.
(Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Nurses Week, from May 6- 12, honors the nation’s caregivers

Local nursing students and faculty say they couldn’t let the pandemic get in the way of their goals.

A Mexican tacos food truck, people ordering and waiting their takeaway food
You voted: The best food truck in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

One of the Jetty Island ferry captains waits for boarders as the ferry begins operations for the summer on Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2016 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Port, county to pay Everett for Jetty Island ferry this year

The Port of Everett and Snohomish County plan to make an online system for $3 reservations.

Boeing crash victims’ families push for changes at FAA

Hundreds are demanding the ouster of the agency’s administrator, Stephen Dickson, and others.

fish and chips cartoon
You voted: The best fish and chips in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

An artist’s rendering of the Amazon distribution center at the Cascade Industrial Center in Arlington.
A tax break used by Arlington, Marysville goes statewide

It’s helped land businesses in Cascade Industrial Center. Soon every city will get a chance to try it.

Charges: Stanwood farm owners starved alpacas, killing some

The alpacas were to be slaughtered for Thogersen Family Farm’s raw dog and cat food business.

The Boeing logo stands on its factory in Sheffield, U.K., on Oct. 25, 2018. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Matthew Lloyd.
Boeing says it fired 65 workers for hateful words or actions

The company wants to increase its Black representation by 20% in the U.S. by 2025.