Boeing has said that it has no plans to re-open talks with a union representing Washington state machinists after they soundly rejected an eight-year labor contract extension on Wednesday that would have seen the company’s newest jetliner built in Washington.
The company has however vowed not to re-open talks with the defiant workers and has said it will look very broadly at where to build the aircraft and will offer a statement in the coming months. “Boeing is keeping all options open” Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Ray Conner told a news conference on Saturday
The contract offered last week would have kept the production of Boeing profitable while raising the health care costs of the workers. Although the deal would have resulted in 20 years of work building Boeing 777x, the international Association of Machinists members voted 67% against the deal. The union mall was charged with cheers when the vote was announced. The union members may have given up their chance for the Boeing jobs, but they said that the contract was too grave to accept.
One of the plans is for Boeing to consider building key parts of the 777X jetliner, including wings, outside a US state or in Japan, where it has already received an offer.
Boeing said that they needed to strike a balance between the desire to build the jet in the state while working under a ‘competitive cost structure’. “We are very disappointed in the outcome of the union vote,” read the Boeing statement that followed the vote. “Without the terms of this contract extension, we’re left with no choice but to open the process competitively and pursue all options for the 777X.”
Reacting to the vote, the president of the international Association of Machinists District 751 congratulated the members by saying they had “preserved something sacred” by voting down the contract.
Although the company has said it is looking broadly and has already started listening to offers from other states, it hasn’t officially stated that the offer was ‘take it or leave it’ for Washington.
(image via Wikipedia)