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Local Boeing union says strike could be ‘imminent’ amid negotiations for new contract

Workers meet on the flight line near Boeing 737 MAX factory shortly after company resumed operations, in Renton. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

The union representing over 220 Boeing workers in Washington announced Friday that it believes a strike is “imminent.”

Teamsters Local 174 plans to vote Sunday morning “to give their negotiating committee the right to call for a strike.” The union reports that it has been engaging in negotiations for a new contract with Boeing, but claims that those talks have “taken a turn for the worse” in recent days.

“Boeing used to be a great local employer here in Washington, but over the years, they have turned into a company that only values the bottom line and not the employees who do the work,” Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks said in a written release.

How faulty Boeing system eventually led to 737 MAX crashes

Hicks went on to cite that as one of the reasons the company has frequently encountered issues with its 737 MAX jets. On Friday, Boeing said that it would be recommending 16 airlines cease flights for a handful of 737 MAX airplanes to check “a potential electrical issue.”

The MAX had just returned to service in November after more than 20 months grounded, following two deadly crashes. The new issue is not related to the flawed flight-control system at the center of the nearly two-year grounding.

The union also levied criticism against Boeing for growing “more anti-union and anti-employee” in recent years, citing how the company halted increases to pensions in late 2016, and then announced its intent to move 787 production out of Everett in 2020.

“This management team is devoted to destroying all benefits and wages our members have earned over this time, and they do not appear willing to stop until they succeed,” Hicks said.

Boeing responded to the union’s announcement shortly after it was released, stating that it “continues to engage and negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that works for all the company’s stakeholders.”

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