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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 19, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Boeing 777X

Union workers and supporters cheer at a rally Monday in downtown Seattle. The Washington State Labor Council called for the rally, saying it wanted to show Boeing and state leaders it supports Machinists union members who voted last week to reject contract concessions Boeing said it needed to build the new 777X in Washington. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Union workers and supporters cheer at a rally Monday in downtown Seattle. The Washington State Labor Council called for the rally, saying it wanted to show Boeing and state leaders it supports Machinists union members who voted last week to reject contract concessions Boeing said it needed to build the new 777X in Washington. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Union ignores the middle class

The International Association of Machinists District 751 did not stand up for middle-class jobs. They sent great middle-class jobs somewhere else [“Machinists defended middle class,” Opinion, Nov. 18].

Boeing offered a guaranteed eight-year contract with a guaranteed annual cost-of-living raises plus a 1 percent raise every other year. In the last five years at my company, most employees haven’t received raises at all (not even a cost-of-living increase). They would love to have had the guaranteed increases IAM District 751 just rejected for the last five years.

The Machinists were not going to lose their retirement savings. Rather, their pensions were simply going to be frozen in 2016 and available for retirement. The workers would then have gained a company funded contribution retirement savings account in which workers would have greater control. Also, Boeing would have contributed 10 percent of gross salary for two years, six percent in the third year and four percent thereafter. In addition, every single machinist would have received a $10,000 bonus this year.

What middle-class job provides all of that? None that I know of. If the Machinists voted yes, we could have had tens of thousands of jobs right here. Now they’re gone. Shame on the union for rejecting those jobs.

Nicole MacKenzie, Kirkland

Boeing should reward Machinists, not punish them with an unfair contract

Boeing’s executive negotiator (who is trying to strip Machinists’ benefits) draws more salary in a week than the average Machinist takes home in a year. This epitomizes an imbalance that moves America more and more toward a plutocracy.

Balance needs to be restored to the team of company executives and Machinists.

Economics and skills mean the company will likely stay in Everett. South Carolina has yet to produce a single plane. The only other suitable site is Southern California, where the Machinist’s union is also in force.

The company should reward its Machinists who rescued the Dreamliner, rather than punish them with an unfair contract levered by improbable threats to move elsewhere.

Julian Ansell, Seattle

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