Boeing’s New Offer Leads to Discord in Machinists Union

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The Washington state machinists union and Boeing (NYSE:BA) remain far apart in contract talks that would keep the aerospace manufacturing giant in the state, even after Boeing offered what it calls the “best and final counterproposal” earlier this week. However, machinists in the union are not united in their hard-line stance against Boeing, leading to two factions with differing ideas on how to approach the current situation.

“People are really looking at this as a make-or-break situation,” Adam Subitch, a 27-year-old painter on the 777 line in Everett, tells the Seattle Times. “A lot of people are angry… A lot of us would appreciate the chance to choose our own future.”

Subitch wants the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ on Boeing’s rejected offer and is part of a group that is at odds with local leadership’s unyielding views toward Boeing’s contract offers. This group, which includes officials from the national headquarters, fears that if Boeing were to move its 777X production to another state, it would lead to massive job losses within a decade. This side is ready to endorse the eight-year contract extension to ensure future work.

But union members on the opposing side of the argument — a faction that includes local leadership — remain unwilling to give up gains earned in the past for concessions on pay and benefits. Wilson Ferguson, a 26-year company veteran who is president of the union’s Local A and works as a 737 delivery mechanic at Boeing Field, tells the Seattle Times that employee pensions remain the sticking point and was unchanged in Boeing’s most recent proposal.

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