Boeing machinist union contract negotiations begin for the first time in 16 years

RENTON, Wash. — For the first time in 16 years, full contract negotiations are under way for the machinists union and Boeing. The president of the union, John Holden, said wages are at the top of their priority list. He said they are proposing a 40 percent increase over three years. Holden said they also want to bring back Boeing’s pension which was done away with years ago.

“Wages for example is a very broad issue it’s not just maximum pay, however, it certainly is that, it’s going to be about starting pay for those that enter the workforce it’s about progression to maximum pay,” Holden said. He also said they would be asking for provisions they’ve never asked for before because of the quality assurance issues that the company continues to face.

“It’s very important to us that we build a safe quality airplane, probably the first time ever we’ll be proposing some of these articles, based on everything that’s going on,” Holden said. He also said he feels confident the union has a lot of leverage for the upcoming talks. He said they hope they won’t have to do a work stop like they did in 2008 but they’ve advised workers to be ready for one, just in case.

“We feel very confident that we’re at a great position of leverage we made the company aware of that that we’re going to push them further than they thought they’d be and our members deserve every bit of it,” he said.

Boeing sent a statement about the negotiations saying, “We look forward to reviewing the IAM’s proposal and continuing our discussions in good faith. We’re confident there’s a path to a deal that addresses the needs of our employees while allowing us to compete in a very competitive global market.”