SEATTLE -The Seattle office of the National Labor Relations Board says it's received more than 40 written "charges" from Machinists Union members involving the controversial January 3 vote that narrowly approved an eight-year contract extension with Boeing that landed the 777X in Everett.
Regional Director Ron Hooks says that the local office has submitted the case to the Division of Advice at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. because of the high profile national importance of the case. Hooks says if the case is found to have merit, the agency will issue a formal complaint.
After Machinists overwhelmingly rejected Boeing's first contract offer in November, Boeing started talking to other states saying it would build the new 777X and its large wing made of advanced composite materials to another state. Twenty two states made proposals to win the business.
The Machinists Headquarters organization outside of Washington, D.C., and known as the international, pushed for approval of the deal, but most leaders with Dist. 751, representing locals here in Puget Sound came out against it. On January 3, the International forced a vote while Machinists were still on their Christmas break, although most went to the polls.
The contract was approved by just 600 votes, and many Machinists cried foul. The most controversial part of Boeing's offer involved freezing the current traditional pension plan and moving forward with a 401K style plan involving contributions from both the employee and the company. Other complaints involved increased employee contributions to health care and wages.
Hooks says the board won't normally inject itself into an internal union matter, but intervention is not unheard of. Machinists have leveled other "charges" as the NLRB calls them against Boeing.
As to when an answer comes back Hooks said, "Because of the high profile nature, hope it would be sooner than later." Possibly in a matter of weeks.