Peace after the IAM vote

The takeaway from the International Association of Machinists’ tsunami rejection of the pistol-to-your-head Boeing contract: Working people don’t want to get buffaloed, especially by elites.

The contract was textbook divide and conquer. Create an incentive package that segments union membership. A $10,000 bonus draws younger workers disinclined to stew about retirement. Ready-to-retire employees benefit now, however mindful of a raw deal for newer machinists. Solidarity, though, animates a union. An unintended consequence of finger wagging is shove-it unanimity.

As The Herald Editorial Board wrote on Sunday, “To ensure 777X production in Washington, Machinists have been pressured to take one for the team, ratifying a contract freighted with concessions. Trouble is, the Machinists are the team.”

So, the posturing and the bluff calling. It’s clear Boeing is serious about looking elsewhere. This may be what the company intended — a pretext to explore options with anti-union, right-to-work states. But Boeing’s greatest legacy is its superb workforce. And union membership is defending that legacy.

“Without the terms of this contract extension, we’re left with no choice but to open the process competitively and pursue all options for the 777X,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner said in a statement.

One of the more astute reads comes from Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett. “I believe Washington is still the best place to build the 777X, but the hill just got steeper,” Larsen said. “We now need to be prepared for an intense competition with other states and countries that want these jobs.”

The Legislature’s incentive package is tough to beat. The $8.7 billion in tax breaks, according to a watchdog group, Good Jobs First, is the biggest state-tax package for a private company in U.S. history. Lawmakers, still smarting from Boeing’s second 787 production line in South Carolina, wisely inserted conditions to make the deal contingent upon 777X production in Washington.

The best public investment was $17 million for aerospace training at community and technical colleges, including the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center at Paine Field. These students will expand Puget Sound’s pool of skilled aerospace workers. Alabama, Texas and Utah can’t compare.

Resentment runs high. As Washington Labor Council President Jeff Johnson said, workers simply want to share in the prosperity.

The Cold War between Boeing and the Machinists can’t last more than a few days or everyone will lose. A neutral party with judgment and gravitas needs to invite IAM District 751 and Boeing back to the table to start anew. Tabula rasa.

What say you, Jerry Grinstein and Bill Ruckelshaus?

Talk to us

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Sunday, Feb. 5

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Herald columnist Julie Muhlstein received this card, by mail at her Everett home, from the Texas-based neo-Nazi organization Patriot Front.  The mail came in June, a month after Muhlstein wrote about the group's fliers being posted at Everett Community College and in her neighborhood.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)





(Dan Bates / The Herald)
Editorial: Treat violent extremism as the disease it is

The state Attorney General urges a commission to study a public health response to domestic terrorism.

Demonstrators gather during a protest in Times Square on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in New York, in response to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police during a traffic stop. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Comment: Special police units an invitation to abusive tactics

To crack down on street crime, Memphis and other cities allow officers to use excessive force.

Don’t dig hole any deeper; vote yes for Marysville schools

Apathy and lack of support has consequences. Misunderstandings and digging in heals… Continue reading

Herald bet on wrong horse with postal delivery

The post office delivery of The Herald is working for me. I… Continue reading

Your support helps Kitty Young Auxiliary aid county’s youths

On behalf of Kitty Young Auxiliary (a part of Assistance League of… Continue reading

toon
Editorial cartoons for Saturday, Feb. 4

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Photo Courtesy The Boeing Co.
On September 30, 1968, the first 747-100 rolled out of Boeing's Everett factory.
Editorial: What Boeing workers built beyond the 747

More than 50 years of building jets leaves an economic and cultural legacy for the city and county.

Marysville School District Superintendent Zac Robbins, who took his role as head of the district last year, speaks during an event kicking off a pro-levy campaign heading into a February election on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, at the Marysville Historical Society Museum in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Editorial: Voters have role in providing strong schools

A third levy failure for Marysville schools would cause even deeper cuts to what students are owed.

Most Read