Boeing has told local political leaders that this week’s vote by Machinists will determine the fate of some jobs on the new 777X airplane.
In a press conference Monday morning, local politicians gathered in Everett to discuss the importance of approving the eight year contract extension Machinists overwhelmingly rejected in November.
“This is really an opportunity to guarantee the future of aerospace for decades to come versus what I think is a dwindling aerospace presence in the state of Washington and the Puget Sound,” said Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.
Former Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel said Boeing executive Ray Conner told them in a meeting that the union vote will decide whether the new 777X composite wing is built in the region.
“What we know now is should the vote not pass, the wing will not be built here. And the consequence of that is that we will lose the opportunity to not be engaged in what is, at this moment, the future of all new jets, commercial and otherwise,” said Drewel.
Current Snohomish County Executive John Lovick said that Conner said Boeing would build a 1.2 million square foot building and the new wing “here” if a new contract is approved.
Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke said her city and outlying areas are home to over 100 suppliers to Boeing.
“Those are jobs as well, that are dependent upon the future of saying yes to this contract,” said Cooke.
Local union leaders say the contract involves too many concessions, including a plan to shift workers away from traditional pensions.
Union spokesperson Bryan Corliss said district leadership is recommending that members reject the contract at a time “when Boeing is recording record profit margins and has a near-record backlog.”
“Our members rejected this proposal by a 2-to-1 margin back in November. Boeing’s changes aren’t that significant, so here at the district we are pretty confident they will speak loud and clear again and say this is something we don’t want,” Corliss said last week.
Machinists will vote Friday, for the second time in two months, on the contract extension. Results are expected at 9 p.m.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.