National media outlets are looking at Friday’s vote by District 751 Machinists through a variety of lenses. Here’s some of the coverage:
The Wall Street Journal notes that while Boeing delivered more than 90 of its highly profitable twin-aisle 777s last year, “Production of those current models is expected to be phased out gradually once Boeing starts manufacturing the 777X around 2017.” (subscription required)
The New York Times examines the rift between the Machinists’ national leadership who ordered today’s vote and the District 751 officials who opposed even voting on this revised offer.
Union officials in Washington State want to preserve gains hard won from a company that has surging profits and record plane orders. But the international leadership sees a different threat — the possibility of losing a large manufacturing center and more than 10,000 union jobs to a right-to-work state where it would be difficult to win representation.
The Los Angeles Times covers the vote with a story focusing on its hometown implications for a region “still reeling from Boeing’s decision in September that it would close the C-17 Globemaster III cargo jet plant in Long Beach in 2015.”
Its story quoted a local Machinist who seems to embody the confusion over what the Boeing contract would mean for existing Machinist pensions.
Rod Wiegand, a 59-year-old machinist who works at Boeing’s Everett, Wash., plant, waved a multicolored sign that read “No Still Means No” and listened intently during the short, fiery rally.
“I am absolutely voting no” on the contract Friday, Wiegand said. “I’m getting ready to retire, and I’d kind of like to have my pension.”
Actually, as this morning’s Seattle Times story points out, pensions accrued before 2016 would be unaffected.
Bloomberg News writes that the question for Boeing, if the Machinists turn down its offer again, is whether it can cut costs enough by going elsewhere when that means a green workforce and a new plant. It quotes Eric Hugel, an analyst at S&P Capital IQ in New York:
“Boeing’s made it clear: they’re going to get savings one way or the other… What this boils down to: What’s the level of risk that Boeing’s going to end up taking to get those savings in terms of having a less-experienced workforce?
And the Everett Herald points out that Friday’s vote comes on an important anniversary: On Jan. 3, 1967, it reported that “the first 113 of a potential 15,000 Boeing employees went to work today at Everett’s still a’building 747 jet assembly plant.”