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WSLC statement on Boeing contract vote, special session

OLYMPIA (Nov. 6, 2013) — At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Governor Jay Inslee called for a special legislative session, which will begin Thursday, to address a package of incentives to entice Boeing to locate final assembly of the new 777X and fabrication and assembly of the airplane’s wing here in Washington state. Inslee said that if the State Legislature passes a five point bipartisan package and the Machinists union (IAM) votes to accept a long-term contract agreement next week then Boeing has committed to locating that work here.

johnson-jeff-13Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, released the following statement this morning:

From the perspective of industry analysts and from the labor movement, the business case for 777x assembly and wing production is in Washington state. The Boeing Company cannot afford to repeat the production mistakes made on the 787. Its customers and shareholders are looking for a renewed focus on delivering a quality reliable product on time. That’s what they have gotten in the past, continue to get now, and will get in the future from Washington’s highly skilled, productive aerospace workforce.

That said, Boeing executives have made it very clear that it may award that work — and those jobs — to another state unless their issues regarding long-term costs are not addressed.

It was announced yesterday that the rank-and-file machinists will be voting next week on a long-term contract proposal from Boeing. It is our hope that the contract proposal respects the skill, knowledge and dedication that machinists bring to Boeing every day to the shop floor. Our thoughts are with these Boeing employees as they make their decisions.

Also yesterday, Governor Inslee announced a special session to consider a five-point bipartisan incentive package to win the Boeing 777X work. In particular, the transportation package is needed to improve freight mobility, not just for Boeing and its suppliers, but for all Washington businesses to maintain and create jobs in all sectors of our economy. Also, state legislators must guard against attempts to insert controversial partisan ideological issues into the special session that could derail these critical efforts at keeping a thriving aerospace industry in Washington state.

The Senate Republican Majority Coalition Caucus has already put out a press release indicating that they don’t want to rush through a transportation package and that perhaps that issue should be considered at a later date. Further delay should not happen. More time already has been spent in the last 10 months discussing transportation than anything else in the Boeing package. Nothing is gained but much is risked by separating this issue from the others.

If Boeing workers have one week to make decisions that will impact their families and hundreds of thousands of people in our communities, then the Legislature should be able to make decisions on something they have been working on for more than 10 months.

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