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Boeing, Machinists respond to concerns on new labor contract

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The 737-MAX is Boeing's newest version of its best-selling jet. Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh says it will be built in Renton if a new contract proposal is approved.

More than 30,000 Boeing Machinists are studying a proposal that would spell labor peace for the next four years if it’s approved. But  some union members are concerned about aspects of the deal.

Lingering questions

One of the top concerns among union members has to do with how solid Boeing’s commitment to Renton really is. Property near the factory where the 737 is built has been sold off over the years.

The company’s commercial airplanes CEO, Jim Albaugh, is assuring union members that if they approve the agreement, the newest version of the 737 will be built in Renton. But that doesn’t preclude it from also being built in South Carolina or anywhere else in the world.

'Good contract'

Still,  Machinist's union spokeswoman Connie Kelliher says it’s a good contract.

“And, you know, we’re very hopeful that the members will look at it as a whole package and see the value in it that landing the 737 MAX gives Puget Sound a much stronger future in aerospace manufacturing than it had before.”

And for the first time, she says, the contract includes mention of a specific airplane program,  in addition to annual 2 percent raises and a $5,000 signing bonus.

Some members are still debating whether the health care benefits are good enough. They’ll vote on the contract on Wednesday, December 7, with results expected around 8:30 p.m.

Union leadership has unanimously backed a yes vote.

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