Many Boeing Machinists convinced vote will flip

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News and KING 5 News Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @jakewhittenberg

KING5.com

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 8:10 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 9:23 PM

Friday is the day that could decide the long-term future of Boeing in the Northwest. But while it's clear more Machinists will vote yes to Boeing's latest contract offer, will it be enough to change the outcome and bring the 777X and its wing plant to Puget Sound?

Ahead of Friday's crucial, second contract vote among Boeing Machinists, many employees feel the results of the previous 2-to-1 rejection will flip.

"With the previous vote, I think 'yes’ voters were intimidated to come out and publically express how they felt," said Paul Fritzler, a Boeing Machinist who is partly behind a Facebook page urging union members to take the deal. He and his family have helped organize several rallies in support of the contract, too.

"I've seen a lot of guys who've changed their minds. I think it will be close," said Scott Walker, a Boeing Machinist. "I would love for a yes vote to go through."

Boeing has proposed an 8-year contract that it says would guarantee production of the new 777X wide bodied airplane be in the Puget Sound region. Boeing has sweetened the deal for Machinists for this second vote by increasing the signing bonus and making it easier for employees to move up the pay scale.

Still, the most contentious issue of removing the pension plan remains.

There is still a strong contingent of machinists who are voting no. Union leaders within the local chapter of the International Association of Machinists are also urging a no vote.

"It’s about saving our integrity," said Roger Walker, a Boeing Machinist set on voting no. "We built this company and all we get is, 'take a pay cut or we auction off your job".

The IAM local 751 organized a Thursday rally at the Seattle Union hall; many there held signs that said "Vote No" and "We Stand Together." Many machinists at the rally say Boeing's best and final offer is just is too much like the offer they already rejected and they will once again vote down the contract offer.

The vote itself may end up in question, as some Machinists have already gone to the National Labor Relations Board seeking and failing to delay it. Their point is the fact that thousands of Machinists are still on extended holiday vacation, but already, on this day after New Year’s, there are Machinists back on the job and they’re the ones who may decide.

Polls will open at 5:00 a.m. Friday and close at 6 p.m. Votes will be tallied at each of the five locations and results should be released by 9 p.m.

Watch KING 5 News and KING5.com for updates on the vote and the results.

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