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Dori Monson

This could be the beginning of the end of Boeing in the Puget Sound region

Dori Monson asks if we could be seeing the beginning of the end of Boeing in the Puget Sound region. (AP Photo/file)

Taken from Thursday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.

I used to be in a union. Union life is not for me. What I mean by that is I've always been too fiercely independent to ever go along with 'groupthink.'

My heart breaks for the 33 percent who voted to approve that contract proposal from Boeing. They wanted to keep their jobs and they thought it was a good enough deal. And now their jobs are very likely going to vaporize because of the 67 percent who voted no against this contract proposal, which included a reduction in the pension benefits and an increase in how much they would pay in health care.

But in negotiations, leverage is everything. And Boeing has proven that it's more than willing to take its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago years ago, to transfer much of its plane making to South Carolina, or Huntsville, Alabama.

Now we find out Boeing says it is not even going to negotiate with the Machinists anymore until the contract is up in 2016. By then, they very possibly, maybe even likely, will have transferred this 777X to some other state.

Again, I don't begrudge the people who voted no on this contract. I think I would have reached a different conclusion than the no voters if I was in their situation. That conclusion is that we have no leverage, and if we don't make Boeing more cost effective labor-wise here in the Puget Sound area, Boeing is going to take the jobs where they can be more cost effective for the company.

The other thing I don't understand is, I would think, at the very least, a contract rejection vote would be a somewhat solemn event and not the subject of wild cheering, like when the no vote was announced (Wednesday) night.

I would feel bad for the people who voted yes, that I kept them from exercising their will. I would feel bad, even if I was firmly convicted in my no vote. I don't know that I'd be cheering and high-fiving the person sitting next to me at a proposal that will very likely lead to the demise of their jobs.

It was a just a couple of days ago the CEO of Boeing, Jim McNerney said what's going to happen if they turn down the contract.

"I hope they don't," said McNerney. "I mean I hope that the team that is already producing one of the great airplanes of all time, the 777, stays together, but we will consider other alternatives if the vote goes negatively, as we've said."

We find out also now along with Boeing saying we're not going to revisit any contract negotiations, we find out that they're dispatching teams around the country to look at other sites for the 777X.

This could have a dramatic impact on the Puget Sound economy and this could be the beginning of the end of Boeing in our region.

Listen: Boeing Machinists explain their votes to us:

Related:
Machinists vote sparks new 'right-to-work' effort
Dave Ross: Touchdown Machinists!
Long Beach a likely contender for Boeing 777X

Taken from Thursday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.

JS

The Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Listen to Dori Monson every weekday at 12noon on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Seattle's News, Seattle's Talk.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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