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Outside pressure on Machinists at Boeing is ‘disrespectful’

(Dec. 16, 2013) — The following statement by Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, was issued this morning:

johnson-jeff-13Nobody wants Boeing to produce the 777x and the composite wing in Washington state more than the rank-and-file members and the local leadership of the IAM District Council 751. This is their work. They want to continue doing this work. No one can do it better than they can. Similarly, no one is in a better position to evaluate whether a contract proposal is worthy of being brought before the membership for consideration than the machinists themselves and their elected leaders.

While Governor Jay Inslee and Congressman Rick Larsen are certainly entitled to their opinions about Boeing’s proposal, putting their opinions in a press statement is absolutely disrespectful to the Machinists and to the labor movement. That they expressed their views so publicly and so supportively of the company’s position reveals how little they understand and respect the collective bargaining process and the generations of sacrifice made by machinists to make this company prosperous.

Machinists were forced to take a soul and gut wrenching vote a couple of weeks ago that asked family members to vote against hard-fought-for benefits and values for which past generations of family and neighbors had sacrificed, and to vote against passing these benefits and values to current and future family members and neighbors. Like true and smart working class heroes they could not do this. The machinists stood up bravely and proudly for the middle class. If we expect things to change for the better in this country then more of us need to stand up as well.

Should the Boeing Corporation choose to locate production of the 777x any place other than Washington State, the responsibility and the ultimately the blame for that decision can only be placed with the company’s desire to break the community standards that the machinists have sacrificed and collectively bargained for over the decades.

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