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Join locked-out Boeing firefighters on picket lines

UPDATED with new picket locations and registration form.

SEATTLE (May 5, 2024) — Amid a crisis of confidence regarding safety at Boeing, the company locked out its on-site firefighters on Saturday after refusing to improve a “last, best and final” contract offer rejected by more than 80 percent of IAFF Local I-66 members. The more than 120 firefighters who protect Boeing employees and facilities in Washington state have responded by setting up picket lines at all Boeing facilities.

IAFF Local I-66 says Boeing’s final contract offer failed to address firefighters’ concerns about short staffing, pay as much as 30 percent lower than nearby fire departments, and step increases that take 19 years to reach the top of the pay scale, among other concerns.

TAKE A STAND — All union members are encouraged to show their solidarity by joining locked-out IAFF Local I-66 Firefighters on picket lines at these sites (click here to register for specific pickets):

▪ AUBURN — 700 15th St. SW, Auburn
▪ EVERETT — Kasch Park Road & Airport Road, Everett
▪ FREDERICKSON — 18001 Canyon Rd E., Puyallup
▪ MOSES LAKE — 8998 Tyndall Road NE, Moses Lake
▪ RENTON — Logan Ave E. & N. 8th St., Renton
▪ SEATTLE — E. Marginal Way S. & 14th Ave S., Seattle

Donations can also be made to the Boeing Firefighters Lock-Out Fund:

Venmo @BoeingIAFFI66
▪ PayPal @BoeingFFlocalI66
▪ By Check – C/O I-66 Strike Fund, PO BOX 1768, Renton, WA 98057

WSLC President April Sims and Secretary Treasurer Cherika Carter joined IAFF Local I-66 firefighters on the picket line shortly after the lockout was imposed at 12:01 a.m. on May 4, which was International Firefighters Day.

During the lockout, Boeing expects local fire departments and emergency medical services to respond to emergencies at Boeing facilities. IAFF Local I-66 — citing safety as its continuing priority — says local firefighters will cross that picket line, but the union adds that Boeing’s people and property are “arguably less safe” in the meantime, as are surrounding communities because local fire and EMS must now also cover Boeing facilities.

“When is Boeing going to make safety a priority? When is Boeing finally going to listen?” asked IAFF I-66 President Casey Yeager. “In underpaying its firefighters, Boeing says we shouldn’t compare ourselves to local municipal departments. The truth is, the fires and incidents we respond to are often more dangerous and, if not contained quickly, can result in millions of dollars in damage to airplanes Boeing sells around the world.”

As long as this lockout lasts, IAFF Local I-66 has the strong support of Machinists District 751, SPEEA/IFPTE 2001 and all other unions representing Boeing employees; the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters and its affiliated unions; the International Association of Fire Fighters; and the rest of Washington’s labor movement.

“When it’s fight or flight, firefighters don’t give up; we fight,” said IAFF General President Edward Kelly. “And when we do, we fight for the benefits and protections that make everyone safer.”

NOTE: A lockout is a tactic some companies use to put financial pressure on employees who are considering a strike. It’s easiest to think about it as a sort of reverse strike; instead of workers initiating a work stoppage, the employer does. Unions can, and often do, establish picket lines outside their workplace during a lockout. Under Washington state law, locked-out workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Like strikes, lockouts are resolved when the two sides agree to resume negotiations and reach an agreement that union members are willing to approve.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!