When Boeing union members widely rejected the latest contract offer recently, it seemed to largely indicate that Boeing would move production of significant parts of the 777X out of Washington state. The wing is the likely thing getting moved, and after the failed vote Boeing made good on its promise to seek proposals from a number of states to move these future jobs elsewhere.
At the time, Boeing was coy about whether they would come back to the bargaining table. But, I predicted in that last post that Boeing would still likely end up keeping the work in Washington, which meant more maneuvering with the union.
The sides have gone back and forth a bit, inching closer to a mid-point. And now, there’s a new contract to be voted on, though the union heads aren’t really supporting it any more than they did the last offer.
Since the last contract got voted down by a 2:1 margin, I still think this one is likely to fail, though by a narrower margin. They should pass it, IMO. The things they’re fighting for, like defined-benefit pension plans are really a relic of the past. They did significant damage to the airlines, though much of that overall pain was self-inflicted. I just don’t see Boeing making those types of concessions. And, it’s worth noting that the new contract isn’t exactly bread and water:
A revised offer from Boeing early last month keeps the pension change and other key concessions, including increased health-care costs. But Boeing agreed to preserve the current wage structure that increases each member’s hourly pay by 50 cents every six months—separate from planned raises and cost of living increases—and “zooms” workers to the top of a pay grade after six years, instead of indefinitely continuing the 50-cent increases in the November offer.
50 cent an hour pay increases every six months, along with raises and cost of living increases. Not to mention that if you stick around for 6 years they move you to the top of the pay scale. Yes, there are negatives for the union in this proposal. But, the union needs to understand these jobs will move elsewhere. There are plenty of states that have unemployed and under-employed folks that would be thrilled with these jobs, and I’m sure they’d do them just fine.