SEATTLE - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has given final approval to a package of tax incentives for Boeing.
Inslee signed the legislation Monday at Seattle's Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. He says the incentives will help secure tens of thousands of jobs in the state for years to come as Boeing begins developing its new 777X jetliner.
Lawmakers approved the legislation in just three days last week after Inslee called the Legislature back to Olympia for a special session dedicated to Boeing. The bill extends Boeing's tax incentives all the way to 2040, and the benefits have a projected value of $9 billion.
Boeing also says it needs an eight-year contract extension with union members or the company will look to build the new model 777 elsewhere.
But the contract has significant cuts in pensions, benefits and future pay increases, which Boeing defends.
“I know that change is not easy. But by working together, we have the opportunity to do something really special here,” said Boeing CEO Ray Conner.
Machinists union members vote Wednesday, and the head of the local union, Tom Wroblewski, made some puzzling remarks at the bill signing.
He seemed to endorse the contract extension, just a few days after calling the contract "a piece of crap" and ripping up a copy.
“The company has shown its commitment to invest in our future. This could be a game changer. Job growth is what Washington needs,” said Wroblewski.
But when he was asked if he supported the proposed contract, the union president was non-committal.
“Along with my members, I have to look at this the same way. I have to take a look at this and how it affects me, my family (and) my grandchildren. And you know it is about jobs it's about the future,” said Wroblewski.
On a follow-up question, Wroblewski said the union voting is a democratic process and it will be up to each union member to decide whether to approve the deal.