Machinists clashed with each other Wednesday at the union’s Everett hall asking that Boeing not require the union leadership’s endorsement in order to proceed with a vote.
About three dozen of them marched from Boeing’s main factory building to call attention to their demand for a vote on Boeing’s latest contract offer.
When the marchers got to the union hall, the screaming matches were already underway. Union members who support a vote were being challenged by members who support the union leadership.
Arguments broke out everywhere over whether Boeing’s latest offer was different from the one members rejected last month and whether the union leadership was right not to bring the current offer to a vote.
And then people chanted the name of the local union leader, Tom Worblewski. Machinist Karl Nielsen called for Worblewski’s resignation. He faults the leader for turning down a contract offer that might be the union’s only chance to secure the production of the 777X plane in Washington, and with it thousands of jobs.
“We want a voice. We do not want Tom’s voice anymore,” Nielsen said as he debated with union steward Lester Mullen. “We want our voice to be heard and we want it now. We need to stand together as a united front, whether it’s yes or whether it’s no.”
Mullen acknowledged the split within the union, but urged members to remain united in their cause. “We need to come to a consensus, not just with Boeing, but with ourselves,” Mullen said. “And we need to stand strong together. Otherwise, we’re going to be hurt.”