Workers narrowly approve 8-year Boeing deal

Boeing workers in Washington state narrowly approved an eight-year contract extension in a move that will ensure production of Boeing's new 777X aircraft in the Puget Sound area.

The workers voted 51 percent to 49 percent in favor, responding to pressures from top union officials and Washington state lawmakers, who warned that Boeing might place 777X production elsewhere, potentially costing the state more than 10,000 jobs.

Friday's vote, by members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, came after Boeing workers had rejected a similar deal in November, 67 percent to 33 percent, because it contained numerous concessions, including a pension freeze.

Many Boeing workers changed their stance and backed the deal after they saw Boeing solicit offers from other states. The company said 22 states had offered 54 sites to assemble the 777X, with some states offering billions of dollars in subsidies.

The 777X is an updated version of Boeing's best-selling 777. Boeing has said the 777X is expected to carry as many as 400 passengers and be more fuel efficient than the 777.

The eight-year contract extension will be added to a contract running through 2016. With Friday's vote, Boeing is assured that it will not be hit by any machinist strikes through 2024.

To persuade union members to approve the revised deal, Boeing, pushed by the parent union, agreed to add a $5,000 one-time payment to each worker, in January 2020, on top of the $10,000 signing bonus it had previously promised upon ratification.

Machinist Joel Hetland holds up a “No” sign at a union rally Thursday in Seattle. Friday’s vote was 51 percent yes.

Associated Press

Machinist Joel Hetland holds up a “No” sign at a union rally Thursday in Seattle. Friday’s vote was 51 percent yes.

Workers narrowly approve 8-year Boeing deal 01/04/14 [Last modified: Sunday, January 5, 2014 12:01am]

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