Pressure builds on machinists union to vote on Boeing contract

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

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Political leaders are now calling on the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to let members vote on Boeing's latest contract offer to build the 777X in Everett.

Gov. Jay Inslee and Congressman Rick Larsen are joining the Snohomish County  executive and Everett mayor in saying members should be given a vote.

Union negotiators rejected the new proposal immediately when meeting with the company Thursday, saying it was too similar to the contract machinists soundly rejected last month.

They decided not to put it to their 30,000 members.

Outside the union hall in Seattle Friday, most machinists KIRO 7 spoke with supported that decision.

"I don't see any reason to vote on something that's basically the same as we already rejected," union leader Robley Evans said.

A national union spokesman said a vote is "under discussion" after the union received hundreds of calls and emails demanding one.

"Members have always had the last word on contracts. That's not about to change," said IAM spokesman Frank Larkin.

A Boeing statement seemed to indicate the offer remained on the table, but Larkin said the union would need the company to confirm that before proceeding with a vote.

Local union leaders say Boeing made the offer contingent on union negotiators recommending members approve it.

Boeing did not deny that in the brief statement it offered Friday.

Local union officials call the offer "almost identical" to the one machinists rejected last month by a two-to-one margin.
There are some differences.

In addition to a $10,000 signing bonus, members would get an extra $5,000 in 2020.

They'd receive better dental coverage and keep their current pace for reaching the top of the pay scale.

Dillon Starkenburg is just starting his career at Boeing. He would like to vote on the contract proposal because he worries about Boeing leaving the state.

"That last contract getting rejected scared me because I don't know what will happen in a couple years," he said.

Machinist Rich Holman wants his son to be able to work at Boeing. But he says the problem is Boeing holding firm about switching from a pension to a retirement savings plan.

"If they give us our pension we'll vote for it -- that's a fact," Holman said.