Morning after IAM Strike Vote/with updates

Update, 9:30 AM PDT Sept. 5: Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times just posted this insightful story on negotiations. Gates paints a dramatic picture of events leading up to the decision to suspend the strike for 48 hours to midnight tonight while negotiations continue.

Update, 8:10 AM PDT Sept. 5: Jon Ostrower of Flightblogger picked up on a story none of the local Seattle media has, and that’s why the IAM agreed to mediation. It’s an important element the IAM leadership did not discuss Wednesday night when they told their membership they were returning to the bargaining table for 48 hours. This turned an enthusiastic crowd into a hostile one, hostile to their own leadership. This reason still hasn’t been explained to the membership. Here is Jon’s report:

According to one veteran machinist deeply familiar with Boeing/IAM labor policy, had the IAM refused to accept the help of a federally appointed mediator and the 48-hour extension, immediate beginning a strike, the IAM would have been deemed negotiating in bad faith, opening themselves up to legal action.

Article 24 of the existing contract allows for a potential extension of up to 1 year if the union agrees to it. It has never been done for this long, though it was done for 5 days in 1986 to give additional time to the Union membership to see the changes to the contract and vote. The same could be done this time around to call for a vote later this weekend without going on strike. A simple majority (50%+1) is required to approve the new contract.

The link to Jon’s full posting is here.

Meanwhile, the IAM contract website has several updates, including a video. There is nothing new on the Boeing contract website beyond the election night disappointed-with-results press release.

(Following section from Thursday morning with this original post.)

We may be updating several times today with news and analysis.

Our first take on the morning after: the salient points from last night are:

  • The vote was a stunning rebuke to management. The vote to reject the contract was 80% and the vote to strike was 87% (we don’t know how to explain that one). Boeing had hoped for a majority vote in favor of the contract and would have settled for a one-third-plus-one vote against a strike (which would have prevented a walk-out, since a third-thirds vote is required by the IAM by-laws to strike).
  • The workers are angry and they want to walk the picket lines.
  • Having the strike postponed for 48 hours for mediation enraged the membership with their own leaders.
  • The leadership, booed and shouted off the podium last night, and emboldened by the overwhelming vote, probably will be very aggressive with Boeing negotiators to seek everything the union proposed in the first place.
  • The membership will want to walk out unless they see a total capitulation from Boeing.
  • Doug Kight’s remark that Boeing is coming back to the table without a new offer and to listen to understand what the issues are will only add fuel to the fire. Kight is the Boeing negotiator.

What we think will happen now: unless Boeing capitulates–an unlikely prospect–we think a strike will occur at 12:01 AM Saturday. The union membership is angry and wants to make a point. With outsourcing a key issue for them (among others), and one on which Boeing doesn’t want to budge, we think the 48 hour stand down only postpones the inevitable.

Seattle Times: Strike on holds 48 hours.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Boeing avoids strike for now.

Flight International: Last ditch talks.

Bloomberg News: Strike delayed for talks.

Chicago Tribune: IAM votes to strike; engineers are next.

Update, 12:45 PM PDT: Here is a 13 minute podcast with James Wallace, the aerospace reporter for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, about the strike vote and 48 hour stay.

Here is a press release from the engineers’ union, SPEEA, in support of the IAM.

Flightblogger has this report from a pub across from the Everett plant, where IAM workers frustrated with the 48 hour strike-stay congregated into the wee hours Thursday morning.

James Wallace of The Seattle P-I obtained a memo sent by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney to all employees following the strike vote.

Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times has this story on Boeing, the IAM and Mickey Mouse.

Investor blog Motley Fool says Boeing should let the IAM strike.

IAM risks Boeing moving jobs to right-to-work states, reports this Reuters article.

4 Comments on “Morning after IAM Strike Vote/with updates

  1. Explaining the result. One possibility:

    For the 20% who voted to accept the contract , perhaps a portion of that group did not want a repeat of the 2002 situation (contract is rejected but did not have enough support for a strike. End result: contract was “forced” on the union and Boeing “got off lightly”).

    Hence 7% voted to accept but also voted to strike.

    Not the usual way of thinking, I admit. Just a thought.


  2. Pingback: Countdown to Midnight for Boeing, IAM « Leeham News and Comment

  3. IAM risks Boeing moving jobs to right-to-work states, reports this Reuters article.

    I hear Mobile, AL has a nice spot all picked out to build airplanes…

  4. Mobile AL has no factory and no skilled workers. The Puget Sound area is low on skilled labor and Boeing needs all it can find. Take the factory to Mobile and in ten years there might be some planes built there. No one wants to leave Seattle for Mobile, though, not even the most dedicated upper managers.

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