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Local union votes to authorize strike if deal can’t be met with Boeing

In this Oct. 19, 2015, file photo, an airplane flies over a sign at Boeing's newly expanded 737 delivery center at Boeing Field in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Union members with Teamsters Local 174 — who manage transportation, trash, and fueling at local Boeing operations — have voted to give their negotiating team the right to declare a strike if a contract cannot be reached with Boeing.

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

For the vote on Sunday, 90% of union members showed up and it was 100% unanimous to authorize a strike if needed. The union says contract negotiations are not going well and a strike would “cripple” Boeing operations in the Puget Sound area.

“Management came into these negotiations with an attitude of arrogance, saying that our workers were overpaid and they wanted concessions. But they had just given themselves huge executive bonuses, and then come to the table and tell us that our highly skilled members are overpaid,” said Jaime Fleming, director of communications with Teamsters Local 174.

“It’s actually an extremely highly skilled groups of workers,” Fleming said about the union members. “What they do is they transport aircraft pieces, transporting millions of dollars of equipment and aircraft parts.”

The current contract expires at the end of the week.

Fleming says a large part of the reason Boeing has had so many problems the last few years is because management does not respect the workers that actually do the work and make Boeing successful.

“[The strike] will last as long as it needs to in order to get the message across to Boeing management that our members are valuable, the work they do is valuable, and they can’t simply be replaced, and they certainly are not overpaid,” Fleming said.

“I just would like to highlight how absolutely stunningly impressive this display of solidarity was. It is unheard of to have more than 90% of the workforce together in one meeting, then to have a completely unanimous vote that shows you exactly where this group is.”

Boeing announces ‘potential electrical issue’ in some 737 MAX airplanes

Boeing tells KIRO Radio it is bargaining in good faith and will continue to do so.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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