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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 18, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Boeing and the Machinists: a proposed vote could change everything

Many of our letters this week have been in response to Boeing, the Machinists and a possible vote. Gov. Jay Inslee and Rep. Rick Larsen want the members of International Association of Machinists District Council 751 to have another vote on a revised contract from the company. This would allow union members to make up their own minds on the adequacy of the offer. Times columnist Lance Dickie agrees that the union members should vote and have the power to decide their own future.

Below our readers share their perspectives.

With record-breaking profits, Boeing should be the one to compromise

The issue between the Machinists and Boeing is getting to a point were there are no winners [“Maybe another 777X vote,” page one, Dec. 13].

The Machinists are split into two different sides themselves. A large number of the workers are happy with the current offer from the company and are willing to agree to the new contract in order to continue supporting their families.

The heads of the union, however, claim that the new contract is too similar to the old one and would let Boeing to find a new plant location sooner than agreed upon in the new contract. The union needs to get on the same page with its goals before it is too late and neither it nor Boeing gets what they are looking for.

Boeing is getting close to starting production of the 777X. If the two sides cannot agree on a contract by the start date, then Boeing would have to find another place to build it; the Everett plant, which currently employs 40,000 people, would drastically decrease. Given Boeing’s recent record-breaking profits, it should be the side to compromise.

— Tyler Waechter, Magnolia

Machinists are concerned about their pension, not statewide effect

I don’t think the Machinists are thinking about what would happen if Boeing decides to build elsewhere. They are more concerned with their pensions and not the overall effect on this area. What is wrong with a 401(k). Do they even think about the small businesses not even related to Boeing that would be affected if they move?

If Boeing moves, the Machinists wouldn’t have to worry about a pension because they wouldn’t have a job. I hope the Machinists can get on the same page.

— David Elliott, Everett

The future looks bleak for Machinists and Everett

It is a bridge too far to ask Boeing Machinists to give up their defined-benefit pension plan, as Wilson Ferguson, president of Machinists District 751 Local A, said.

Apparently it is not a bridge too far for the Machinists’ leadership to ask the rank and file to put at risk guaranteed good wages for jobs not requiring college degrees, a signing bonus in the thousands of dollars, employer contributions to a retirement plan, dental insurance and something I’ve not seen mentioned anywhere — medical insurance. Without a job, the Machinists would be on their own on that count as well. At least the minimum wage might be $15 an hour.

I hope District 751 President Tom Wroblewski and Ferguson are ready for the fallout of a round of short sales and foreclosures in Everett in the next few years. I hope the rest of us are too.

— Robin Vogel, Kirkland

Comments | More in Boeing | Topics: Boeing, Boeing 777X, Machinists

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