Boeing CEO, union leaders talking 777X for second day
Local Machinists union leaders and the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes are meeting for a second straight day to talk about a possible deal to keep the 777X in Washington, IAM District 751 reported on it website.
The two sides met for the first time Tuesday since Machinists overwhelmingly rejected a contract proposal that would have guaranteed the 777X stay in Washington state.
The union says the goal of Wednesday’s meeting is to see if the two sides can reach agreement that would secure Puget Sound as the site for 777X fabrication and final assembly.
“Our membership wants to build this airplane and we believe Boeing wants to do it here,” said District President Tom Wroblewski.
Wroblewski said union members will be updated after Wednesday’s meeting.
The Seattle Times reports Ray Conner met Tuesday with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 751 council officials at the Commercial Airplanes headquarters in Longacres.
The meetings offer some hope the union and management could be open to negotiating a settlement following last month’s rejection of a contract proposal that would have guaranteed the 777X be built in Washington state in exchange for significant labor concessions.
Tuesday’s meeting came on the same day Boeing set as the deadline for states to submit their proposals to land the 777X, as Machinists staged a rally near the Everett factory asking union leaders to go back to the bargaining table.
The rally, organized by an assembly worker, didn’t amount to much – only seven guys.
Some Machinists say they want the local leadership to reach out to Boeing on a new potential contract that could ensure the 777X be built in Washington state.
Brody Bonnallie is fearful that another state is going to persuade Boeing to build the 777X.
“I don’t see it coming here, so I wanted to get something started Get some activists out here and try to get it here at the Everett factory.”
District 751 President Tom Wroblewski has asked machinists to avoid friction with the union, but Bonnallie says he can’t stay quiet while jobs go elsewhere.
There have been rumors of dissatisfaction and anger from union members toward their leaders after the take-it-or-leave-it contract vote in November. Sixty-seven percent of the International Association of Machinists District 751 members voted no, protesting Boeing Co.’s push to end a traditional pension plan and increase their health care costs.
Prior to the vote, Wroblewski called it an emotional decision, but said union members should consider what’s best for their families.
He refused to speak with media members following the announcement of the vote results.
Tuesday is the final day for states to submit their proposed incentive packages to Boeing to build the 777X. Washington state is still in the running.
The Legislature gave final approval to extend tax incentives, worth a total projected value of $9 billion, all the way to 2040. Lawmakers also voted to spend millions of dollars on worker-training programs and an effort to aid permitting for large aerospace manufacturing sites.
Boeing has been silent about its desires, but recently released documents show it has a fairly long list of requirements and “desired incentives” for the new plant.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch obtained a copy of the request for proposals Boeing has put out to states seeking to win the deal to build the next generation jetliner.
The “desired incentives” include:
-Site at no cost, or very low cost, to project
-Facilities at no cost, or significantly reduced cost
-Infrastructure improvements provided by the location
-Full support in worker training
-“Entire applicable tax structure including corporate income tax, franchise tax, property tax, sales/use tax, business license/gross receipts tax and excise taxes to be significantly reduced.”
The RFP also says the ideal site would be immediately adjacent to a major international airport with a 9,000 foot runway and near a seaport that can handle large container ships.
Boeing will decide where the plane will be built early next year.
KIRO Radio’s Chris Sullivan and Josh Kerns contributed to this report.