Machinists angry they didn't get to vote on offer

Print
Email
|

by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 11:39 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 13 at 8:24 AM

SEATTLE -- Outside the Machinists Union 751 meeting Thursday night, kids posed for pictures with Santa and people paraded their dogs dressed in holiday sweaters. Nobody, though, was in a jolly mood.

"No one's feeling good about it," said 26-year veteran Dan Curtis.

Reporters weren't allowed inside the meeting, but angry exchanges could be heard through the doors.

Boeing's stance that this was their last and best offer to the union had some like Norm Brown nervous.

"Everybody's worried," said Brown. "We're not fools. We want to build the 777X here. We understand the company has to make its decisions on an economic basis."

Some who rejected the original proposal last month appear to be having a change of heart.

"Now that they've had some time," said machinist Jon Key, "they don't like it, but it is livable."

Union leadership was not at the meeting, and some members were clearly unhappy with the way they've been represented. To them, the fact that the company's offer was not brought to the rank and file for a vote is troubling. 

"It's my future. I should be allowed to vote on it," said machinist Lee Chebert. "Sometimes you wonder about the leadership. I'm wondering if we have the right guys making the decisions for us."

One thing many at the meeting were not aware of was that Boeing's offer was contingent upon union leaders recommending ratification. Because it was so similar to last month's original offer, they weren't willing to do that.

"Our membership has spoken pretty loud and clear that this offer wasn't acceptable to them," said IAM 751 spokesman Bryan Corliss. "For us to try to push an offer on them that they didn't want, it would've been counterproductive."

The question now becomes, can the rank and file put enough pressure on union leadership to bring Boeing's proposal to a vote. The union spokesperson says, at this point, the offer has been taken off the table by the company and there is nothing to vote on.

Print
Email
|