SEATTLE – The Machinists Union posted details of its four-year contract extension with Boeing online Friday. The union’s negotiating committee is recommending the contract extension be accepted.
The bottom line is that the contract adopted after the end of a 57-day strike in 2008 will remain largely unchanged. But there are changes in boosting worker pay and job security and continuing the traditional pension plan for all union members, which will see a bigger employer contribution.
The company is also paying out a $5,000 bonus to each union member, which would be payable within 30 days if members approve the deal.
Machinists are being asked to pay more for medical costs, and a new wellness program that could make workers pay $20 to $40 a month more if they do not complete online health assessments. Union leaders say those costs are offset by increased dental and vision benefits.
Union members are scheduled to vote on the contract December 7.
The union polled members about their biggest issues to prepare for negotiations leading up to the end of the current contract in September 2012. The number one issue for union members was job security. The leadership says that job security goal is met with the company agreeing to build the 737 Max in Renton, and move any Air Force tanker work from Wichita, Kansas to Puget Sound Boeing facilities if Boeing decides to close down some of its Wichita operations. The Everett plant will continue to produce wide-bodied jets including the 747, 777 and 787 models along with 767 airliners and tanker aircraft.
However, there's no specific reference to the union dropping the NLRB complaint as part of the deal that would allow the 787 assembly line in Charleston, South Carolina to continue.
For the first time, the union is agreeing to incentive pay that could add an additional 2 to 4 percent of a workers gross wages on top of a 2 percent general wage increase. The bonuses would be for improvements in “production, quality and reduction of lost work day cases.” The union says the metrics are familiar to people who work on the shop floor. While the document says there are no guarantees, similar plans adopted in Boeing plants in St. Louis and Philadelphia have, “…consistently paid out.”
The contract also provides for a new Joint Union/Boeing Council and a statement of mutual objectives that the document says are designed to establish a new working relationship that vows to address job and wage growth as well as competitive pressures in the airplane market.