Boeing machinists voted to accept a contract virtually identical to one they rejected last year by a 2-to-1 vote. Reality intruded on their so-called “principles”.
Two months ago the machinists union worked overtime to kill the contract offer that was designed to keep production of the 777X in Washington Puget Sound region. The fundamental point contention was flipping their pension from a designed benefit to a 401K style plan. The union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), went into full socialist mode with the first contract and worked every way they could find to defeat the offer.
That’s when they found out that Boeing wasn’t about to back down from a fight.
Boeing was not subtle in its response to the rejection. After the vote, Boeing immediately began soliciting bids from other states; about two dozen states applied, some offering major tax breaks valued in the billions of dollars. Boeing executives told Washington state elected officials earlier this week that another rejection by the machinists union would guarantee that the 777X project would be located outside Washington state.
That would have been a big blow to the state’s economy, and to its self-image.
Boeing laid it on the line to the Democratic governor of Washington. “Get behind this deal because we’ll move in a heartbeat if it fails.” Or words to that effect.
For the past two months Boeing has been entertaining serious offers from 20 states that would love to build the 777X, as well as having 20,000 good paying jobs move to their state. Needless to say, Washington’s public officials took the threat seriously enough that they went after the union members with a publicity campaign urging them to accept the contract. They did accept it. Narrowly.
The union wanted another big NO vote. They got their heads handed to them and there are now “deep divisions” within the union.
Personally, we wanted the union to reject the contract. Boeing would have moved the 777X out of state, along with 20,000 jobs, and they would certainly have gone to a Right to Work state.
Even staying in Washington, it looks like Boeing has made stand and an affirmative statement that they will NOT let the unions run the company.
That’s a hopeful sign.