by: Graham Johnson Updated:
EVERETT, Wash. - Political pressure is building on local machinists to approve a new contract to build Boeing's next airplane in the Puget Sound region.
The mayors of Everett, Renton and Kent, which all have Boeing plants, joined with the Snohomish County executive and other political leaders Monday to urge machinists to vote yes on Boeing's latest contract offer.
"There is no option here other than a yes on the contract," said Kent Mayor Suzette Cook. Otherwise, she said, "we will see a demise in the economic stimulus that Boeing has provided us."
The political leaders say Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner told them earlier in the day that if machinists vote no Friday, the company will not locally produce the composite wing for the 777X.
Although Boeing has not decided where it will assemble the entire plane, the political leaders predict the company will build the 777X, as well as future planes, wherever the wings are built.
"This is really an opportunity to guarantee the future of aerospace for decades to come," said Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.
In an email to KIRO 7, a Boeing spokesman said this will be the machinists' last opportunity to vote before the company decides where it will build the 777X.
Local union leader Wilson Ferguson dismissed Boeing's statements as "the politics of fear mongering."
Local union leaders urge a no vote, saying Boeing is trying to extract major concessions in the middle of their contract while making huge profits.
Over local union objections, union leaders at the national level scheduled Friday's vote, saying Boeing has made a billion dollars' worth of improvements to the offer that 67 percent of machinists rejected in November.
Ferguson acknowledged Friday's vote will be closer but added, "I think we'll defeat it."