Boeing Union Urges Machinists to Strike

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by isaac000, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. I could not agree with you more, but then you should stop complaing about competitive advantage (in certain areas) of those countries that chose slightly more socialism than we did. We made our choice, they made theirs, too bad if our choices made Boeing lose out to Airbus.

    Maybe we should learn from them instead and for example implement Universal Healthcare so that Boeing and other companies will never again have to worry about it during negotiations with their employees. Just like Airbus does not. And Boeing employees will never again have to worry whether they and their families can afford to see a doctor when they are sick.

    Well I agree that cheap foreign labor competition is a major issue which needs to be urgently addressed but I don't think that lowering american living standards and incomes of american working people to the levels comparable with $0.5 hr chinese wages should be the solution. Unfortunately that's precisely what's hapenning in this country, albeit relatively slowly.

    You're concerned with EU subsidizing Airbus which creates "unfair" competitive disadvantage for Boeing. Your concerns seem to disapear when the chinese workers are subsidized by their government which provides Universal Healthcare, guaranteed retirement, vacations, pensions, free college education, cheap public transportation etc. That together with less than $1 hr wages makes competition with them virtually impossible for american workers whether they are unionized or not.
    #11     Aug 31, 2005
  2. Machinists voting on Boeing contract
    Thursday September 1, 1:06 pm ET

    More than 15,000 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Wichita, Seattle and Portland are voting on the Boeing Co.'s contract offer.
    Voting in Wichita was scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Machinist Hall, 3830 S. Meridian. The polls in Seattle and Portland close at 6 p.m. Pacific time.

    Union leaders called for rejection of the three-year contract offer and for members to go on strike.

    The Machinists say Boeing failed to respond to the union's top issues -- pension, health care and job security -- and criticized the company's offer to raise pension benefits to $66 a month for each year of service.

    The offer freezes the wages of workers at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Wichita, although they would receive a lump sum payment of $2,800 in lieu of a cost of living adjustment. The lump sum payment can be rolled into Boeing's 401(k)-style VIP savings plan.

    Seattle and Portland employees would receive a 2.5 percent general wage increase in 2007 plus a 1 percent COLA during each year of the contract.

    In 2002, the union rejected Boeing's offer, however the contract was put in place by default when the union did not gather the two-thirds majority vote needed to go on strike.

    Published September 1, 2005 by the Wichita Business Journal
    #12     Sep 1, 2005
  3. Boeing Machinists Strike Over New Contract

    Friday September 2, 7:38 am ET
    By Gene Johnson, Associated Press Writer
    Boeing Machinists Strike Over New Contract; Company to Halt Commercial Plane Production

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Machinists at Boeing Co. walked out on strike Friday, forcing the aerospace company to halt production of commercial airplanes after the two sides could not agree on a new labor contract.

    The strike affects about 18,400 Machinists in the Seattle area, Wichita, Kan., and Gresham, Ore.

    In Wichita, 20-year Boeing employee Sandi Wiley said she wasn't walking the picket line for herself but for her 8-year-old daughter, Leslie.

    "You do it for the next generation," Wiley said. "I am worried she will have a worse standard of living than I have."

    The Machinists, who assemble Boeing's commercial airplanes and some key components, voted overwhelmingly Thursday to strike, rejecting a three-year contract proposal their leaders called "insulting."

    Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers said the strike meant the company would immediately stop assembling commercial airplanes, dealing a blow to the jet maker just as business at its commercial airplanes division appeared to be picking up.

    "If the company wants to talk, they can call me," Mark Blondin, president of Seattle-based Machinists District Lodge 751, said after announcing 86 percent approval for the strike authorization. Union leaders were unwilling to provide actual vote tallies for the strike authorization and a separate vote on the contract offer.

    Under union rules, the contract would have been automatically ratified -- and workers would have stayed on the job -- unless two-thirds of the union members voted to strike.

    Company officials had said earlier they feared a strike would send customers to competitors, notably rival Airbus SAS, and questioned whether the commercial operations could ever recover.

    Bickers called the strike decision "disappointing." He said the Chicago-based company could continue to do other work, such as designing new aircraft, but there was no way to build airplanes without those workers.

    "We sacrificed during the bad times," said Kansas striker Dorsey Scott. "Now it's the good times and it seems we are getting cut out of that."

    The 27-year Boeing employee added he has his freezer stocked, his bills paid and money set aside.

    Union leaders said the contract offer fell woefully short on top issues including pension payments and increased health care costs. District Lodge 751 is negotiating for employees in all three states, although some terms differ based on location.

    The union last went on strike in 1995, when workers walked out for 69 days.

    Workers represented in the talks now receive an average of $59,000 a year. The company had said they would earn about $62,500 a year by the end of the new contract, excluding overtime and other extra payouts.

    The strike vote announcement was met by a chorus of cheers, hugs and backslapping by hundreds of workers gathered at the union's hall in south Seattle.

    Larry Weckhorst, a 16-year Boeing veteran who lives in SeaTac, said he knew the strike was coming because "the mood was just different from three years ago" when the Machinists accepted what they considered a sub-par contract because of the airline industry's dismal state after the 2001 attacks.

    Now "the production rates are going up, the stock price is going up," the 47-year-old said, adding, "That pension (issue) is huge. Look at how old our work force is."

    The company offered Machinists -- who average 49 years of age -- a pension of $66 per month for every year worked, up from $60 currently. The union said that fell short of what its workers deserve.

    Bickers continued to defend the proposal as a "comprehensive contract that compared favorably with others in our industry and in the regions where we operate."

    The union also was critical of increased health care costs and a proposal to eliminate retiree medical benefits for workers hired after July 2006, with the exception of laid-off workers who are recalled.

    For about 900 union-represented workers in Wichita, the company offered no general wage increase but a one-time payout of $2,800, which would have increased to $4,200 for employees who chose to deposit the money in the Boeing 401(k)-type retirement account.

    "They wanted us to turn our backs on our brothers and sisters in Wichita," Blondin told the Seattle union hall crowd, to a loud chorus of boos. "They wanted us to sell out future hires."

    For about 17,500 affected Machinists in the Puget Sound area and Gresham, Ore., the final offer would have given workers lump-sum payouts of $6,000 over two years. That total could have increased to a maximum of $9,000 for employees who chose to roll the money into a retirement plan.

    The company also added a 2.5 percent wage increase in the third year of the contract.

    In addition, Boeing offered an incentive pay program that would have provided five days of extra pay to Oregon and Washington workers if the company met financial targets and up to 15 days' worth if the targets were exceeded.

    Cost-of-living provisions would have boosted base wages by about 1 percent in each year of the contract.

    The company also said it offered two health plans with the option of no premium, though premiums would have increased for most health care plans.

    Machinists District Lodge 751:

    Boeing Co.:
    #13     Sep 2, 2005
  4. Boeing is in a real pickle. It may not be all that easy to find replacement workers, although the management should start on that task immediately. Just when the company has the ability to make some money, the union backstabs them. Probably their best bet for the long term is to transfer their manufacturing to Asian locations.

    The old school confrontational labor-management model no longer works, if it ever did. Most of the companies that were saddled by unionized workforces have gone out of business. It seems inevitable that Boeing, Ford and GM will join them. Then we can spend trillions to provide for the "unfortunate" workers. Politicians will be weeping for their plight, never mind the rest of us who work hard and pay taxes and don't undermine our own jobs.

    I realize Boeing has had poor management and that these older workers face an uncertain future. I can understand their desire for more security, but they picked an odd way to get it.
    #14     Sep 2, 2005
  5. agpilot


    Nobody said much about the huge retirement pay the pilots get?

    That is a real waste of $. I was friends with several NWA pilots over the years and the pay they get for their work/ risk is too much for this day and age of computer controlled systems. Their high pay is a carry over from the higher risk days before WW2.
    #15     Sep 2, 2005
  6. When Boeing was losing money a few years ago the union made a lot of consessions, now the company is making very good profits isn't it time to share some of it with workers? According to you if a company is not making money the workers are not entitled to raises, if a company is making money asking for a raise is "backstabing".

    Typical republican position - every worker in the country is overpaid except for Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who are underpaid and overtaxed.
    #16     Sep 2, 2005
  7. EBenson


    when the company makes money the managers/executives should be congratulated and be awarded bonuses,free shares,lifelong memberships in the CountryClub etc...when the company is losing money like GM for example the greedy unions and outrageous healthcare plans are to blame.:D
    #17     Sep 2, 2005
  8. Casey30


    That is what every person on this board complaining about unions totally agrees with.

    According to the article the union is fighting for their pensions, 60/month for every year. so for 30 years of work that would be a whopping 1800 a month to live on. The union wants a 33% increase versus a 10% that managemenr is offering. That is a whopping 594/month more. WOW!!! And 414/month more then the company is offering. DOUBLE WOW!!! How much does the CEO and officers make a year and what is their pension per year when they retire? MILLIONS PER YEAR ON BOTH ENDS OF THE DEAL, not including perks of course.

    Let's say the five top Exec's get pensions that total 5 million a year combined, which of course is probably way under shooting it. Divide 414 and then 12 into that number and that alone would pay the increase for 1006 employess. That is really sad. Oh, gosh, that would suck to have 100 million in the bank after my career and only get 1 million plus as a pension. How do you live off that. THESE CEO's HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE ANGRY. Stupid unions....right???
    #18     Sep 2, 2005
  9. Arnie


    I hope Boeing stands their ground. I have nothing against the union, but this isn't about's about a company being asked to garantee future health benifits. Something they have absolutely no control over and the very same thing that has got a lot of companies over a barrell. GM has built in costs that are $1500 per unit HIGHER than the industry standard for health care costs. How the hell can they compete? And besides, why the hell is an employer responsible for your health care?
    #19     Sep 2, 2005
  10. No reason, just the way it is in this country. And why the hell should workers be willing to work for an employer refusing to provide health care? Of course if your point was that this country needs Universal Healthcare so that Boeings an GMs and Microsofts are no longer responsible for it I could not agree with you more. But I don't think that was your point.

    Nice thread though, right wingers hate Labor Unions, they despise Labor but proudly celebrate Labor Day. Don't forget to wish Happy Labor Day to your pro-big business anti-labor friends and family, hypocrits.
    #20     Sep 2, 2005