Boeing and Union Make Peace

A major union dispute between Boeing and its employees has hopefully come to a resolution. The unionized workers of Boeing voted to extend a four year long contract that aims to stabilize labor relations while the company plans production of their planes for the next few years.

The deal developed by Boeing during several secret meetings that took place over the past few weeks will ensure the new 737 will continue to be built in Renton, Washington rather than in a non-union plant in South Carolina. The 737 MAX manufacturer hopes to settle the National Labor Relations Board case filed against them for reacting to a 58 day strike in 2009 by  illegally retaliating against the union and starting a non-union plant in South Carolina to manufacture the 787 Dreamliner. With the deal ratified by the Machinists the union plans to put their issues with Boeing behind them.

The 58 day strike that took place back in 2009 was not the first of its kind. Almost 28,000 union workers in Washington, Kansas and Oregon have proven to be aggressive and persistent advocates over the years, going on strike in 1987, 1995, 2005, 2008 and most recently in 2009. The latest strike caused a delay in the delivery of the new 787 and cost Boeing a substantial amount of money, hence their attempt to retaliate against the union.

Once agreed upon, the contract will increase annual wages by nearly 2 percent, offer an incentive program with bonuses and an improved pension program. However, most importantly it guarantees Renton union workers the 737 MAX production will remain in the state of Washington. The agreement also intends to bring labor peace to both sides. Voting for the deal ends Wednesday evening of next week. Approximately 74% of union members support the contract and union officials have openly announced to the press that they believe both parties will agree to the revised contract extension.

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Image courtesy of Tim Beach &