Turbulence for the Boeing 777X in Puget Sound

by: Rick Price Updated:

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EVERETT, Wash. - A deal to ensure that Boeing builds the next generation 777 in Puget Sound is running into heavy turbulence. 

Earlier this week, news broke of a tentative contract deal between the company and the Machinist Union.  But the Seattle Times is reporting that during a meeting at Union Headquarters in South Park Thursday night, the 8-year extended contract offer had union members steaming. 

In response to that, union president Tom Wroblewski called the offer a “piece of crap” and tore up a copy at the podium, according to The Times. 

The Boeing offer, as summarized on the union’s website, raises union members’ health care costs and replaces their traditional pension with a defined contribution savings plan.  

Wroblewski reportedly said “I will go to see if this can be withdrawn and not even put to a vote.”  The vote had been scheduled for this coming Wednesday, November 13.

After the Times article was posted on the internet Thursday night, Boeing responded to KIRO 7.  The company statement said: 

“All of our options are still on the table, including those within Boeing and other interest we have received from outside. We chose to engage in Puget Sound first, but without full acceptance by the union and legislature, we will be left with no choice but to open up the process competitively and pursue other options for locating 777X work. If this is not ratified per the scheduled union vote on November 13th, we will begin taking the next steps.”

The groundswell against the contract proposal comes as the Washington State Legislature is considering a package of tax breaks and other incentives for Boeing to keep major 777X work in Puget Sound.  Other sites that have been mentioned as potential competitors for that work include North Charleston South Carolina, where Boeing recently opened a 787 final assembly line, beginning production in 2011.  California has also been mentioned as a possible candidate. 

Link to a summary of the proposal on the IAM751 Website:  http://www.iam751.org/pages/t2013/2013_Extension_Proposal.html