Seattle, WA, United States (4E) – Boeing’s eight-year contract extension was narrowly approved by its workers, according to their union on Friday, in a decision that will assure that the company’s production of its new 777X aircraft will stay in its Seattle hub.
The workers voted in favor of the new contract, 51 percent to 49 percent, amid pressures from union leaders and Washington State lawmakers, who cautioned that the aircraft giant might transfer its 777X production in another state, which could potentially lose Washington over 10,000 jobs.
Under the new deal, there will be a freeze in pensions beginning 2016. Boeing’s commercial airplane unit head Ray Conner had said the term was non-negotiable.
The vote came after Boeing workers’ rejection of a similar contract in November, 67 percent to 33 percent, saying it had too many concessions, such as a modest raise and a pension freeze.
The decision to keep Boeing’s production at its commercial hub means the company avoids rushing into constructing new facilities and training a workforce before the planned start of its 777X production in 2017 and its target for initial delivery in 2020.
Many members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers changed their stance and voted in support of the deal after seeing the company seeking offers from other states. Boeing said 22 states had offered to host the assembly of the 777X, some offering subsidies amounting to billions of dollars.