Union bosses playing chicken with Boeing on jobs
KING TV in Seattle reports:
The bosses of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers District 751, representing the Washington State workers at Boeing would rather jeopardize thousands of jobs than accept a 401k-style pension instead of a guaranteed pension income. That would be the type of pension that drove General Motors into bankruptcy. Boeing is planning a new generation of the wildly popular 777 twin engine airliner, the 777x, and is willing to establish a brand new facility to produce it. The 777x has already sold hundreds of frames, and is expected to replace the 747 as the most popular VLA (very large airliner) owing to its fuel efficiency and cargo-carrying capacity.
KING TV in Seattle reports:
After a third day of talks between Boeing and the Machinists Union, Boeing said they presented a counteroffer for 777X work to the leaders of the machinists union, which has been rejected.
The offer is still on the table, but KING 5 has learned that the company does not expect a positive vote without a "yes" recommendation from the union leadership.
"Boeing and the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers District 751 have completed a third day of meetings following an attempt last month to secure a contract extension," Boeing said in a released statement. "This afternoon, in response to a proposal presented yesterday by the union to secure 777X work in the Puget Sound region, Boeing presented a best and final counterproposal. That offer was rejected by the union leadership."
Talks have now ended.
The Boeing offer was not exactly ungenerous:
Boeing said they were willing to put the 777X wing production and final assembly in Everett as planned had the deal gone through. The company was offering was to increase the signing bonus from $10,000 to $15,000. The proposal would also have kept in place the current rate at which employees accelerate to the top of the pay scale, which is six years.
Unless the union bosses back down, it is almost certain that Boeing will establish an assembly facility elsewhere, given that 22 states have now made proposals to the company, hoping to snare thousands of new high-paying jobs. Many, though not all of those proposals come from right-to-work states like South Carolina and Texas. Boeing has already established a final assembly facility for the 787 Dreamliner in Charleston, SC.
Well aware of how attractive the prospect of thousands of new lucrative blue collar jobs are, Boeing has a "wish list" that includes a low cost or no-cost site and ready highway and rail access, as well as a 9,000 foot runway capable of handling the specially modified 747 "Dreamlifter" cargo plane used to ship components. In return, states have quite a prize in prospect:
According to the Boeing documents, a site winning all the 777X work will gain 8,500 direct jobs at peak production in 2024. That would include 800 engineers, 6,750 production workers and 950 administrative and support personnel.
A site that does final assembly but without the wing fabrication would provide a peak of 5,740 direct jobs, including 535 engineers, 4,570 production workers and 635 other personnel.
Fabricating and assembling the wing, if done at a separate location, would provide a peak of 2,760 direct jobs, including 265 engineers, 2,180 production workers and 315 others.
So attractive is the opportunity that even high-cost California is submitting a bid. Of course, Boeing would ineviatbly face a unionized workforce there. Lots of luck, Cali.
Private sector unions are shrinking. It looks a lot as though the shrinkage will get a boost from the stubbornness of the union bosses at the IAM.