Vote ‘Yes’ on IAM contract; SPEEA talks begin

The IAM union at Boeing votes Saturday (Nov. 1) on the revised contract offer presented by Boeing. It’s time to vote ‘yes,’ and get the union members back to work, production lines going again and Boeing customers their airplanes.

This is a compromise agreement, and like any compromise, not everyone is happy about it. The 751RanknFile blog opposes ratification. There are some valid points on the blog, and an unscientific vote has 53% of the respondents opposing the contract. But the IAM negotiators did get standstills on health care and retirement benefits, two important issues to the union. There were minor improvements on pension payments compared with Boeing’s Best and Final Offer–improvements so minor that we wonder why Boeing didn’t offer this earlier, or why the IAM negotiators thought these were victories, but they are what they are.

The IAM gained job security for the life of the contract for nearly 4,000 jobs, another important issue to the union, and some restrictions on vendor delivery of parts to the factories.

Boeing maintained the right to outsource on the five issues most important to it, while granting the IAM certain rights before work is outsourced from Puget Sound (the Seattle area) to any other Boeing facility. This might be important when Boeing opens a second 787 line. Boeing really has to do this in order to have any hope of accelerating delivery delays of up to three years for the new airliner and to open up delivery slots for new orders. The IAM wants this second line in Everett, the assembly site for the 787. If Boeing wants a second line under the Boeing assembly name during the four years of the life of the contract, it seems that the IAM gets to have a say and/or bid on this work before it goes somewhere else.

Boeing gets a four year contract instead of three years, but does not get the defined contribution pension plan it wants in place of a defined benefit plan.

This is a superficial summary; the full contract proposal should be posted on the Boeing and IAM websites Thursday and we’ll link them when they appear.

Although both sides didn’t get everything they want, it’s time to ratify the contract and get back to work.

We hope the IAM membership agrees.

Meanwhile, over at SPEEA

“Table” negotiations began today between Boeing and SPEEA began. Boeing has several messages dated today (October 29) on its Boeing-SPEEA labor website. SPEEA’s labor website is here.

Update, October 30: Here is the IAM’s 8 page description and recommendation of the new contract offer.

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