Federation Executive Director Greg Devereux earlier this evening sent out this open letter in support of our sisters and brothers of Machinists District 751:
Dec. 23, 2013 — An open letter from the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28, in support of Machinists District 751 members at The Boeing Co.:
In 2011, just two years ago, Machinists District 751 members at The Boeing Co. voted to ratify a long-term five-year contract that was an extension of their existing contract. They did so at the company’s request and with the company’s promise of securing long-term Boeing production work. That 2011 contract extension benefited both the company and the Machinists, secured the 737 MAX work in Washington State, and gave the company what they said they were looking for: labor stability and peace.
Now the company has returned and asked to extend the contract again. Washington State Machinists must again re-open their contract that doesn’t expire until 2016. But this time, it’s clear this is not about labor stability. It’s about cutting compensation. Boeing is demanding unprecedented takeaways from their employees at a time when the company is enjoying record profits, sales, and executive bonus packages.
The elected membership representatives of Machinists District 751 strongly believe that these takeaways are excessive and unnecessary. This is not a case of making sacrifices to see a company through tough times. This is a case of a company that is flush with cash, orders and profits not only refusing to maintain its workforce’s existing wages and benefits, but also demanding that they give up their pensions under the threat of moving work elsewhere.
This fight has implications far beyond Machinists District 751. Voting for a contract that eliminates defined benefit pensions for future workers sets a dangerous precedent for all workers in Washington State. Boeing can maintain its profit margin and the retirement security of Machinists by retaining the existing pension plan that is clearly so precious to their employees and to all workers in Washington. If Boeing guts the Machinists’ pensions, how soon will it be before the State follows?
We must stand up in support of the Machinists. Enough is enough. Boeing needs a quality workforce, not further takeaways. If you have friends or relatives who are Boeing Machinists, please tell them we support their fight to preserve a good contract for this generation and generations to come.
The Machinists have always been there for us. They need us to stand with them and beside them.
Greg Devereux, WFSE/AFSCME Executive Director
See copy of the letter: greg iam open letter.122313
That’s it for now. Have a safe and happy holiday season. And if you know a Machinist, if you’re the parent, child, spouse or domestic partner of a Machinist, shake their hand when you see them this holiday season. And let them know the Federation is on their side. To see more on how the Machinists view the contract and the Jan. 3 vote set by their international union, go the 751 website at: http://www.iam751.org/