Washington state labor leader rips Gov. Inslee, others for backing Boeing 777X union vote

Dec 16, 2013, 1:15 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2013, 11:49 am

The head of the Washington State Labor Council is calling Governor Jay Inslee and Congressman Rick Larsen “disrespectful” for urging Boeing’s Machinists union to allow members to vote on a new contract.

Inslee, Larsen and several others issued statements last week saying local leaders of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers should bring the company’s latest contract proposal to a vote.

“While Governor Jay Inslee and Congressman Rick Larsen are certainly entitled to their opinions about Boeing’s proposal, putting their opinions in a press statement is absolutely disrespectful to the Machinists and to the labor movement,” said Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, in a statement Monday.

“That they expressed their views so publicly and so supportively of the company’s position reveals how little they understand and respect the collective bargaining process and the generations of sacrifice made by machinists to make this company prosperous,” he said.

The leaders of District 751 rejected Boeing’s latest contract offer last Thursday at the conclusion of three days of talks with Boeing executives.

“The price Boeing demanded was too high,” said IAM 751 president Tom Wroblewski in a statement. “Our senior leadership team could not recommend Boeing’s counter-offer.”

But a growing number of union members continue demanding the right to vote on a contract that offered an additional $5,000 and several other incentives above the deal Machinists overwhelmingly voted down in November.

“I am tired of the union screwing this up. A few people are holding up the entire future of this region. I want to vote on the contract! They need to stop lying to us with their propaganda and let us vote,” says union member Mark Valley.

Union leaders say there is no contract to vote on because Boeing pulled the offer after Wroblewski rejected it. But Boeing said in a statement last week the company did not withdraw the offer following the rejection.

There’s been no further statement from District 751 or Boeing since last week. But some members in favor of a vote say they’re organizing a march on the union hall in Everett Wednesday to draw attention to their cause.
In the meantime, Johnson says leaders like Inslee should butt out.

“Machinists were forced to take a soul and gut wrenching vote a couple of weeks ago that asked family members to vote against hard-fought-for benefits and values for which past generations of family and neighbors had sacrificed, and to vote against passing these benefits and values to current and future family members and neighbors,” he said. “The machinists stood up bravely and proudly for the middle class. If we expect things to change for the better in this country, then more of us need to stand up as well.”

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Washington state labor leader rips Gov. Inslee, others for backing Boeing 777X union vote