It’s not just Seattle that’s fascinated by the momentous decision facing Machinists as they assess Boeing’s take-it-or-leave-it package of a huge manufacturing project coupled with an 8-year contract that locks in small wage increases and various benefit cuts.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek writes that “Now the Puget Sound region is waiting to see how the machinists will respond to a contract offer that many in the union consider an insult.”
“Boeing vote tests union strength,” writes the Wall Street Journal. It cites one analyst’s estimate that Boeing’s pension costs “account for about two percentage points of the 10% to 15% of the total labor cost to run Boeing’s commercial unit.” The contract being voted on today would replace future contributions to Machinist pensions with a defined-contribution system, resembling a 401(k), although already-accrued pension benefits would not be changed.
Reuters notes that on Tuesday, ahead of the Machinists vote here, Boeing broke ground on an addition to its South Carolina complex, where it will build nacelles for the 737 MAX and perhaps the 777X.