Monday, January 06, 2014

Union Vote To Slash Benefits Ends Indiana's Hope Of Landing New Boeing Plant

Members of the International Association of Machinists, the union representing Boeing's union workers in the Seattle, Washington area, reversed course and narrowly voted this past weekend to cut benefits and future wage increases as part of a deal to secure manufacturing jobs to produce the company's new 777-X plane. The vote ends Indiana's hope of landing a new manufacturing plant that promised billions of dollars in investments and thousands of high-paying jobs.

Under the deal, union members agreed to give up their current pension plan in favor of a traditional 401(k) savings plan, pay for more of their health insurance costs and accept smaller future pay increases. The deal was bitterly opposed by the union's local leadership and received a bare majority vote by the members who last year rejected the deal, setting off a competition among two dozen states bidding to win the new manufacturing plant. Reaction to the union's vote in Seattle varied sharply according to the Seattle Times.
While Boeing executives chose to remain silent the day after the Machinists’ contract vote secured the work of building the 777X jet for Washington state, top officials at the Machinists national headquarters and in Gov. Jay Inslee’s office were almost giddy.
“It’s going to be sunny in Seattle for another 40 or 50 years,” gushed Rich Michalski, who represented the International Association of Machinists (IAM) national headquarters in the 777X negotiations. “Boeing is going to be here forever now.” . . .
The bitter acrimony within the union was clear Saturday on the Facebook page for Rosie’s Machinists 751, a rallying point for Vote No union activists.
“ANYONE who voted yes is a traitor, a coward, and a scab. They should be blackballed,” one angry Machinist posted.
Trying to calm such sentiment, Wilson Ferguson, president of the Local A unit of the district and a prominent leader of the Vote No campaign, posted a message calling for respect.
“Those people are not scabs. They are not sheep,” Ferguson said in an interview. “The members have spoken. We have to move forward and heal the damage.” . . .
Observers described the machinists' union concessions to Boeing's demands as highly unusual because it comes at a time when Boeing's financial performance has been soaring. "Against Boeing’s threat to move work elsewhere, the union could do little but “slow the tide” of concessions, Grunberg said. It is left split and weakened as never before," the Times reported. "Boeing developed maximum leverage by negotiating outside the normal schedule of contract talks — when it could threaten to locate a new airplane elsewhere and the union couldn’t strike."


Anonymous said...

We desperately need to get all Indiana cops off pension plans and into 401K plans.

Mary Roger Bowser said...

That's right, Anony 11:07. I agree. Who do they think they are? They work 20 years, all night, in blizzards, tornadoes, downpours, get shot at, spit on, name called, attacked by women, children, men, criminals, armed people, working holidays, birthdays, school plays, church, with lousy health care benefits, etc. etc. and then get paid their $38,000 a year pension.
Oh...they have to wait until age 55 to collect that fortune.
Perhaps you would like to step up to the plate?