Boeing Says Machinists Rejected Its 'Best And Final' Offer

Dec 12, 2013

Boeing union machinists opposed the original contract proposed by 67 percent. The union rejected Boeing's "final" offer on Thursday night.
Boeing union machinists opposed the original contract proposed by 67 percent. The union rejected Boeing's "final" offer on Thursday night.
Credit KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Boeing says its machinists have rejected the company’s “best and final” counterproposal.

That much the aerospace giant and the union agree on about what transpired at a meeting on Thursday night.

The union and the company had been negotiating a contract that could secure the 777X production line for Washington state. On Thursday evening, the company issued a statement saying there was no deal.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder told KUOW, “It’s safe to say that talks with the union have ended.”

Just before midnight on Thursday, Alder added, "That offer rests with them."

But in a statement on its blog on Friday morning, the union said that's not true -- and that Boeing had withdrawn its offer.

“Our members want to build the 777X, and we believe Boeing’s best chance for success for this vital airplane program is for our members to build it here,” Tom Wroblewski, the Machinists union President, said.

“However, the price Boeing demanded was too high,” he continued. “Our senior leadership team could not recommend Boeing’s counter-offer.”

According to the Seattle Times, a union official at the national office said union membership should get a chance to vote on this latest version of the contract. Machinists union workers rejected a contract Boeing proposed in November by 67 percent.   

Boeing said its revised, eight-year contract extension was an improvement on its previous offer. In the statement, Boeing said it had added a $5,000 bonus and brought back dental benefits as part of its final offer to the Machinists. It also gave on a key point – retaining the current rate at which machinists rise from the starting rate to the top rate.

And the Machinists said they offered Boeing what it wants most: labor peace.

But Boeing remained firm on freezing the pension and instead offered a guarantee to keep another production line – the 737 Max built in Renton – until 2024.

Meantime, the location of the production line for the 777X remains up in the air. Boeing is now saying it has received proposals from 22 states, many of which submitted multiple sites for consideration. Fifty-four sites are now being evaluated.

There’s been no word yet from the machinists about the fate of the proposal.