777X
3:22 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Washington State Machinists In Talks With Boeing

A prototype for the Boeing 777X. Washington state machinists and Boeing were in talks on Tuesday and Wednesday, one month after the machinists refused Boeing's proposed contract.
Credit Boeing handout

Boeing and the Machinists Union have resumed formal talks over the 777X — specifically how to keep production of the plane in Washington state.

The Machinists Union announced that it is holding its first serious discussions about gaining the 777X production line since the workers rejected a contract last month.

Our membership wants to build this airplane and we believe Boeing wants to do it here.

Wednesday's meeting again brings the president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Ray Conner into the same room as Tom Wroblewski, the head of the local Machinists Union and the man who dramatically tore up Boeing’s latest contract offer.

In a prepared statement, the union says the goal of Wednesday’s meeting is to see what the two sides can do to secure Puget Sound as the site for the 777X.

"Our membership wants to build this airplane and we believe Boeing wants to do it here," Wroblewski said in the statement.

The meeting comes a day after Boeing’s deadline for receiving bids from other states who also want the 777X line.

The two sides first met Tuesday at Boeing's headquarters in Renton.

A month ago, two-thirds of union members rejected a contract offer that would have given the region the 777X production line. That's when Wroblewski tore up a copy of Boeing's contract proposal, a move then characterized by Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst at the Teal Group in Washington, D.C., as "the worst case scenario" for Boeing-union relations.

This second day of meetings was greeted by Alex Pietsch, head of the governor's Office of Aerospace, as good news.

Boeing's statement was tepid: "As we’ve said from the beginning of the 777X site selection process, we continue to look at all of our options. As we start evaluating the proposals, we’ll engage with all interested parties."