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On Eve Of Union Vote, Machinists Protest Boeing's Latest Offer

Several hundred Boeing machinists and supporters gathered in a Seattle union hall Thursday to urge members to reject Boeing’s contract offer.

The rally came on the eve of a crucial vote on what Boeing has called its best and final offer. Acceptance of the labor deal by some 30,000 local machinists would guarantee 777 assembly work for the Puget Sound area.

But local union leaders are urging members to reject the offer, saying the workers are asked to make concessions even though the company is having a profitable run.

Machinist Shannon Ryker who attended Thursday’s rally had this question for Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner: "Tell us, Mr. Conner, are you willing to reduce your salary?"

“Against threats and ultimatums, we are fighting for the future of unionism,” Ryker said.

The offer going to a vote this week would slow the growth of machinists' wages starting in 2016, but workers would still get regular cost-of-living adjustments and an additional 1 percent raise every other year.

If historical cost-of-living changes continue, about 400 machinists in Washington state would surpass $100,000 in base pay in 2020, not counting shift differentials or overtime. The most common class of machinists would reach $82,000 at that point.

In all, 22 states are currently vying for Boeing’s 777x assembly work.

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