We’re committed to 777X, unions say

Six labor unions representing workers at Boeing Commercial Airplanes sent an open letter Friday to Washington elected officials and Boeing Co. executives, saying that their members are committed to building and delivering the company’s new 777X on time and on budget.

The letter is a plug for producing the planes in metro Puget Sound, where most of Boeing’s unionized employees are located. The present 777’s final assembly line is in Everett.

“Boeing has the infrastructure today. Our members have the training and experience. Together, we can put the anxiety of aerospace customers to rest for good,” the letter states. It is signed by unions representing the company’s machinists, engineers, fire fighters, security guards, maintenance workers and others, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA).

Where the 777X will be assembled has been the source of much speculation since Nov. 13, when members of the Machinists union rejected the company’s contract extension proposal, which would have reduced benefits in return for putting 777X assembly in Everett.

Earlier this week, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said the company would pick a site for 777X final assembly within three months.

Alabama, California, Texas, Utah and South Carolina have been among the other possible sites mentioned in news reports.

Missouri officials are also making a pitch for the work, according to The Associated Press.

Regardless, many aerospace analysts say Everett makes overwhelming sense for the site.

The company introduced the new plane last week at the Dubai Airshow, where it announced 777X orders worth more than $95 billion at list price.

Customers have urged Boeing not to risk production delays of the sort that dogged the 787 Dreamliner, which was delivered three years late for a variety of reasons.

The company’s labor unions “are ready to answer the demand of airplane customers at the recent Dubai air show to rein in control of processes and renew focus on building the highest quality, safest and most reliable aircraft in the world,” the letter states.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com.

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