After talks about 777X work with Boeing failed, the Machinists Union released the following statement Thursday on their website:
Talks between the Boeing Co. and Machinists Union District 751 have ended after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a proposed contract extension that would have guaranteed the 777X would be built in Washington state.
“Our members want to build the 777X, and we believe Boeing’s best chance for success for this vital airplane program is for our members to build it here,” said District 751 President Tom Wroblewski.
“However, the price Boeing demanded was too high,” he continued. “Our senior leadership team could not recommend Boeing’s counter-offer.”
“On Wednesday, the union had offered Boeing a preliminary contract proposal that would have guaranteed the company a total of 16 years of labor peace by extending the current contract, which has been in place since 2008, until 2024.
“Boeing’s leadership has said time and again during this process that this was a top priority, and we were wiling to give them that,” Wroblewski said. “We were willing to give them labor peace.”
However, Boeing’s counter-offer on Thursday was mostly unchanged from the proposal that Machinists had rejected by a 2-to-1 margin on Nov. 13, demanding steep concession in retirement and health benefits while limiting future pay increases.
Boeing’s offer Thursday was contingent on union leadership recommending acceptance, Wroblewski said.
“This we could not do,” he said. “Our members had already rejected this.”
Wroblewski said the union will continue to make the case that Washington is the best place for Boeing to build the 777X, which is the latest derivative of Boeing’s best-selling widebody jet.
“Machinists Union pay and benefits make up less than 5 percent of the total cost of building an airplane,” he said. “And for these pennies on the dollar, Boeing gets in return the most-skilled, most-productive aerospace workers in the world
“Any objective analysis will show that Boeing’s best business case is to build the 777X in Washington, utilizing the skills, experience and dedication of our Machinists Union members,” he concluded.
Wroblewski said he does not regret attempting to negotiate a new deal. “Going back to the table was the responsible thing to do,” he said. “We just couldn’t get to an agreement. Again, the price was too high.”