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Winter 2013-14

Is no sacrifice too big for Boeing?

by Chris Dugovich, Council 2 President/Executive Director on January 6, 2014

THERE HAVE BEEN many aspects of the recent Boeing machinists negotiations that have beenn expanded on in the Press. The most accurate headline read, "The Offer is a Piece of Crap." It was, and the reaction and the outcome of the vote was very predictable.

I drive by the Everett Boeing plant twice a day going to and from work and I am consistently in awe of the airplanes that company produces. But make no mistake about it; nothing is going to roll out of that giant building without the men and women who perform the skilled trades it takes to produce the new 787 and the 777 and, at some point, the 777X.


I know what seems to be the “good ole days” is when an employee who did a good job or in this case, thousands of employees, who have created record profits and a record stock price just might expect a raise. Not in these days and not with this company. There seems to be no sacrifice that is too big that we as taxpayers can make, and certainly the employees can make, to make Boeing more profitable.

Boeing didn’t even say please. They threatened a loss of employment unless the machinists gave in on a lower rate of pay, less medical coverage and walked away from a defined benefit pension.

Maybe the most disappointing aspect of the whole process were the politicians, some of whom are friends of labor, who facilitated a set of circumstances that placed the machinists in the untenable position of being the bad guys. Either give up everything you’ve fought for in the last 50 years or be blamed for losing these jobs. 

If that wasn’t enough for the politicians, they all got on the radio during the last days of the formal machinist vote and urged them to pass it. That included many local politicians in the Puget Sound area. Contract negotiations are between an employer and its union. Any outside involvement is really inappropriate and in my opinion, helped produce the exact opposite of the intended effect. 

The bottom line is, we all want Boeing to build their 777x in Everett. It’s good for Washington and certainly good for all our membership, its jobs and it does create tax revenue even after giving a heck of a lot back to Boeing.

Hopefully Boeing will reconsider its hard-line stance and provide a reasonable resolution. It’s not just about maximizing profits, it’s about the people who work there and the community that the Boeing Company operates in.