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Boeing Machinists contract rejection sparks renewed 'right-to-work' effort

A Republican state senator is calling for Washington to become a "right-to-work" state in the wake of Boeing Machinists rejecting a contract extension. (Tim Haeck/KIRO Radio)

With Boeing Machinists resoundingly rejecting a proposed contract extension to guarantee the 777X, a Republican state senator is renewing his call for Washington to become a "right-to-work" state.

Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, wants Gov. Jay Inslee to call a special session to consider new legislation making union membership optional.

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"You can see that Boeing is taking these jobs to more competitive environments, particularly those environments that are right-to-work," Baumgartner says.

Baumgartner argues the union vote impacts the entire region, not just the workers gambling that Boeing won't build the 777X elsewhere, as threatened.

"These are thousands of jobs, literally billions of dollars in lost revenue through economic activity to fund school, policemen, better roads all because of this vote last night," he says.

Baumgartner insists he is not anti-union, but workers should be free to choose whether they have to join or not and pay dues he argues are the primary funding source for the Democratic party in Washington state.

"It needs to be thought of as a pro-freedom and economic growth measure. We need to do it right now as a pre-emptive measure before it's too late."

Twenty-four states now have right-to-work laws, including South Carolina, which landed a second line for Boeing's 787.

But a spokesman for Inslee tells The Spokesman-Review "that's not going to happen."

Communications Director David Postman says Boeing never brought up right-to-work as a condition for guaranteeing the 777X work.

Inslee said Wednesday night he would reconvene a legislative task force on the 777X next week and could call a special session on a transportation package later next week.

Related:

Boeing Machinists overwhelmingly reject contract extension
Dave Ross: Touchdown Machinists!
Why Machinists held out to protect their pensions

About the Author


Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.

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