District 751 of the Machinists said Friday that union members who’ll be away on vacation during its controversial Jan. 3 contract vote can obtain electronic absentee ballots that will be processed by an outside firm.
The absentee voting is a departure from the union’s usual procedures. District 751’s local leadership, which has vocally opposed voting on the current Boeing contract extension offer, got permission for the procedure from the Machinists’ national leadership, which scheduled the voting on a day when when many members will still be taking holiday time.
To obtain access to the portal where they can vote electronically, members must email a request to the union by noon on Jan. 2. They are instructed to provide their Boeing ID, as well as a picture of their driver’s license or passport and a phone number.
“We will be utilizing an outside voting service to handle the actual absentee voting on January 3rd,” said a statement on the District 751 website explaining how members can obtain the online ballot.
Boeing says it will build the planned 777X in its Puget Sound plants if the contract is approved, but otherwise will look at other sites.
Local Machinist leaders have adamantly opposed such a vote, arguing the offer is not much of an improvement over the one union members soundly rejected Nov. 13.
The new offer, which extends the current contract from 2016 to 2024, eliminates Boeing’s proposal to lengthen to 16-plus years, from six, the so-called “zoom” period for moving to the top pay for a particular job classification.
But it retains Boeing’s insistence on stopping accumulations in the Machinists’ longstanding pension plan in 2016 and starting a defined-contribution retirement savings plan instead.