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Boeing fire fighters, supporters picket at company gates

Informational pickets come as Boeing, IAFF I-66 return to bargaining table


RENTON, Wash. (April 30, 2024) — Nearly 200 Boeing fire fighters and their supporters conducted informational pickets outside company gates Monday in Renton and Everett. The more than 120 fire fighters who protect Boeing employees and facilities in Washington state — members of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local I-66 — are struggling to get a fair contract from the Arlington, Virginia-based company.

Monday’s informational picketing happened the day negotiators are returning to the bargaining table. Boeing fire fighters were joined by delegations from multiple IAFF locals, Machinists District 751, SPEEA/IFPTE 2001, Teamsters Locals 174 and 117, and others.

Boeing’s “last, best and final offer” to the fire fighters was rejected by more than 80 percent of IAFF I-66 members. The union says the offer failed to address fire fighters’ concerns about short staffing, pay that’s significantly lower than local fire departments, and step increases that take 19 years to reach the top of the pay scale, among other concerns.

Boeing has also proposed to cut peer-to-peer counseling, and important program this bargaining unit started because so many of them are veterans and/or have experienced trauma.

A “cooling off period” expires May 3, after which time the union could file a 10-day notice of their intention to strike, or the company could decide to lock them out of their jobs.

Unions representing Boeing employees and nearby fire fighters and EMTs have sent letters of support urging Boeing to agree to a fair contract with IAFF I-66.

“The fire fighters at Boeing perform critical functions that ensure the safety of the people who work for the company as well as the security of the company’s buildings and equipment,” wrote the Executive Board of SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001 in an April 15 letter. “In addition to saving Boeing billions of dollars in insurance premiums through fire prevention, their presence at Boeing’s Puget Sound facilities has literally saved lives. Given all the benefits these Boeing workers provide to the company and its shareholders — and at a time when Boeing safety practices are under global scrutiny — we find it hard to understand why the company is choosing to pick a fight with the frontline safety providers of Local I-66.”

“All eyes are on Boeing right now to see if they are serious about changing course after decades of profit-driven cost cutting,” said April Sims, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “It’s absolutely astounding that Boeing management thinks now is a good time to deny their own fire fighters wages comparable to nearby peers or to sufficiently staff their departments. Washington’s union movement calls on the company to agree to a fair contract with IAFF Local I-66 immediately.”

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