Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

St. Louis Machinists President Changes Tune for Hometown Press

Ashley Gross
Boeing's 777 assembly line in Everett, Wash.

The president of the St. Louis machinists union now says he’s “prepared and ready to sit down with Boeing” to discuss moving 777X production to Missouri. The union chief’s comments Thursday come one day after he said the work should remain in Washington.

The St. Louis Dispatch reports machinists president Gordon King is “walking back” what he told me, and that King is now “ready to sit down” with Boeing.

King previously told me that his union “brothers and sisters in Seattle are the best qualified” to build the 777X. But he was clear that if Boeing decides to move the plane’s production elsewhere, he wants the jobs in St. Louis.

King also said in two separate interviews that his members would not accept the contract Boeing offered Northwest machinists.

“I would not present that package to my membership, no,” King said, “‘cause they would not take those concessions.”

King says his union has already given ground on retirement benefits for new hires. The contract rejected by Northwest machinists would have gone further; pensions would have been frozen and members transitioned to 401(k) plans.

The Missouri Legislature is meeting in special session this week to approve a Boeing incentive package.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.