1:28 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Politicians To Boeing Workers: Vote No, And The Wing Will Fly Away

Boeing machinists have been in heated negotiations with management over their contract. Politicians say that the machinists don't approve the latest contract, production of the plane will almost certainly move to another state.
Credit Flickr Photo/Tony Cyphert

The politicians and mayors stood together to tell the union machinists that a vote for Boeing’s contract is a vote for stability for everyone. Then they said Boeing had a message.

Bob Drewel, executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council, delivered it.

“What we know now is that should the vote not pass, that the wing will not be built here,” Drewel said. He didn’t say anything about where the rest of the plane would be built.

The wing employs about 2,000 people. The entire plane employs 20,000.

Until now, Boeing has threatened to move the 777X plane out of state if the machinists don’t agree to the company’s offer.

It is also considering building the wing and fuselage at separate sites including Washington.

The mayors of Everett, Kent and Renton also spoke, telling the machinists that losing the wing would be bad enough, because the wing is the harbinger of Boeing’s commitment to the region.

“Where that composite wing is built will be a major signal as to where the future of Boeing’s aerospace will be when it comes to manufacturing future airplanes,” said Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke.

At the Machinists union hall in South Seattle, workers there said they thought little of Boeing’s threat to build the wing in another state.

“It’s the game,” said Wilson Ferguson, who works at the 737 jet delivery center. “It’s a one-upmanship game they’re playing. We believe in the end that someone in the Boeing company board of directors will come to their senses, bargain with us in good faith without a gun to our head, stop giving us ultimatums.”

The machinists are scheduled to vote on Boeing’s contract offer this Friday.

A Boeing spokesman said the company would not discuss the matter. Despite its ongoing negotiations with the union, the company’s stock has increased 81 percent over the last year – more than any other company on the Dow Jones stock market index.

Produced for the Web by Isolde Raftery.