NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Boeing, Machinists reach agreement to build next generation 737 in Renton

The Boeing Company announced this morning that it has tentatively reached a labor agreement with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) that will ensure the next generation of its 737 narrow-body jet (known as the MAX) will be built in Renton, Washington, where production of the current 737 is based.

Boeing's 737 Max

A depiction of the new Boeing 737 Max, which includes a new family of engines. (Image courtesy of The Boeing Company).

“The 737 MAX builds upon the legacy of the world’s best single-aisle airplane and continues to generate overwhelming response from our customers,” said Jim Albaugh, the head of Beoing Commercial Airplanes, in a statement.

“If our employees ratify a new agreement, building the 737 MAX in Renton will secure a long and prosperous future there, as well as at other sites in the Puget Sound area and in Portland, Ore., where 737 parts are built.”

IAM District Lodge 751 President Tom Wroblewski described the deal as an “extraordinary proposal.” “[This deal will] 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.”

A ratification vote on the agreement by Machinist members has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 7th. That’s exactly one week from today.

The IAM says the agreement negotiated with Boeing includes the following provisions concerning fair wages and benefits for its members:

  • 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.

NPI congratulates IAM and Boeing on reaching this historic agreement. This is, without question, great news for the economic security of not just our Machinist brothers and sisters, but for all Washingtonians.

Aerospace has long been one of our state’s most important industries – it has justifiably been called the rock on which our state’s economy is built. And no company is more important to our aerospace sector than Boeing.

Governor Chris Gregoire was quick to praise the deal.

“I commend both Boeing management and the Machinists for coming to the table, negotiating in good faith and working together to reach an agreement. This tentative deal recognizes the talent of Boeing’s highly trained workforce, while providing the company the confidence it needs to assure its customers that planes will be delivered on schedule. And as this sector becomes increasingly competitive, this initial agreement shows a strong commitment by both sides to secure the future of aerospace in Washington,” she said.

Senator Maria Cantwell agreed.

“This is a tsunami-sized deal between Boeing and the Machinists union,” she said. “It is a transformation of the relationship between the company and workers to focus on quality, performance, and incentives.”

“This deal keeps jobs in the Northwest with the 737 MAX production and keeps the long-term skillset of building fuel efficient planes in the Northwest. The Puget Sound area wins because it means the Northwest will continue to be the epicenter of aerospace jobs long into the future.”

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One Ping

  1. […] Boeing, Machinists reach agreement to build next generation 737 in Renton […]

    Ping from Morning Rundown for December 1st, 2011 :: December 1st, 2011 at 10:01 AM