Pressure, stakes run high in Boeing Machinists’ vote

You know there’s bad blood between the Boeing Co. and its Machinists union when even minor gestures of convenience are rejected.

Boeing is offering shuttle service tomorrow to and from union halls as Machinists make their way from Boeing factories to vote on the company’s new labor contract offer.

Machinists’ leaders have responded by urging members to “forget the bus, march with us.” By marching, rather than riding Boeing’s buses, Machinists are sending the company a message that they’re “insulted” by Boeing’s tactics.

As you know, union leaders are telling members to reject Boeing’s contract offer and vote to strike against the aerospace company.

A company spokesman Tim Healy assures me that no Boeing managers will be on the bus to pressure Machinists into accepting the contract. And Boeing won’t hand out pro-contract fliers or literature. Boeing just wants to see as little of disruption of possible to the production floor, Healy said.

But the Machinists are having none of that.

Union members used their breaks today again to rally outside Boeing’s Everett factory.

With one day left before Machinists vote on the contract, both the union and Boeing are expected to have managers talking to members. Boeing’s lead negotiator, Doug Kight, has instructed managers to review the company’s Web casts with employees. And managers will be talking to employees individually today.

The Machinists are telling members to report what is said during the meetings. Union leaders are angry at Boeing’s bargaining approach and have filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the company.

Boeing put out a new radio spot aimed at Machinists over the long holiday weekend. The ad features Scott Carson, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Highlights from Carson’s radio ad:

“It’s an outstanding offer by any measure.”

“It affects Boeing’s future, it affects your future and it affects your family’s future.”

“Our customers and our communities are counting on us to continue building on our success.”

Boeing’s Kight reiterated that last point in his latest message to Machinists today.

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