SEATTLE — Machinists Union members will vote next week on a four-year contract extension that includes a commitment by the Boeing Co. to build its 737 MAX passenger jet in Washington state.
Leaders of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers said Wednesday they have reached tentative agreement with Boeing on a proposal that also would ensure continuation of wide-body aircraft work in Puget Sound.
In addition to the job security language, terms of the four-year proposal include:
- Annual wage increases of 2 percent, plus cost-of-living adjustments;
- An incentive program intended to pay bonuses between 2 and 4 percent;
- A ratification bonus of $5,000 for each member;
- Increases to the formula for calculating pensions in each year of the pact; and
- Guarantees that new hires would continue to receive traditional pensions.
The proposed extension is unusual, given that the IAM’s current contract with Boeing isn’t set to expire until September 2012.
Machinists Union District Lodge 751 President Tom Wroblewski called it an “extraordinary proposal.”
The proposed contract extension would “secure thousands of jobs while raising Machinists’ pay and pensions,” he said. “Hopefully it also signals the start of a new relationship that can both meet our members’ expectations for good jobs, while giving Boeing the stability and productivity it needs to succeed.”
In addition to the prospect of reliable and uninterrupted aircraft production through September 2016, the agreement provides Boeing with savings in health care costs, partly by encouraging union members to enroll in wellness programs and partly by increasing the share they pay toward their health benefits.
As a further step, the IAM and Boeing agreed to establish standing committees of top-level union representatives and company officials with the ability to quickly address conflicts and opportunities.
“These committees are designed to provide the means and opportunity to resolve issues that have led to work stoppages in the past,” said IAM International Vice President Rich Michalski, who helped guide the talks. “It was open and honest dialog that led to this tentative agreement with Boeing and I believe that approach and these committees can guide the new relationship going forward.”
The agreement still must be ratified by IAM members working for Boeing in Washington state, Oregon and Kansas. The votes are scheduled for Dec. 7.
District 751 represents more than 28,000 workers at Boeing’s Puget Sound plants. The union plans to hold voting at union halls in Auburn, Everett, Renton and Seattle, and a location at Fredrickson. If a simple majority agrees, the proposed contract extension would take affect immediately.
If a majority of those voting do not favor the proposal, then Machinists at Boeing would continue working under the current contract, and negotiators from the two sides would meet again next year to work out terms of a new agreement.
Wroblewski said he’s confident that his union’s members will agree to the contract extension.
“This proposed agreement with Boeing is good for our members, good for the company and good for our communities,” he said. “It gives our members more confidence that Boeing’s truly committed to Puget Sound, and it rewards them for the work they’ve done to make Boeing a world-leading manufacturing company by providing them with the highest pay and best benefits in the industry.”
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents some 30,500 working men and women at 45 employers across Washington, Oregon and California.
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