Certain Members of Congress close to Boeing, and the Governor, told the Seattle papers Boeing essentially issued an ultimatum to the IAM: adopt a no-strike clause or we’ll set up 787 Line 2 in another state.
As you might expect, not only did the message not go down well, neither did the choice of messengers. The IAM issued this response late Wednesday (July 8):
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 8, 2009
Letter below from IAM District 751 President Tom Wroblewski to members:
July 8, 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Many of you have seen the story in The Seattle Times where elected officials say they’ve been told by Boeing leadership that the company requires a no-strike clause from us as a condition for keeping a second 787 final assembly here in Western Washington.
I want you to know that:
1) Boeing has not approached us with any formal proposal on this;
2) We’re open to talking about anything that will bring more jobs for our membership, and if Boeing has proposals that would ensure we’ll be building Boeing airplanes here in Puget Sound for generations to come, we’ll certainly listen;
3) Today, we have a four-year agreement in place – one that members ratified and agreed to live by and the Company agreed to abide by, as well.
4) And this is most important of all, your Union leadership will never take such a step without consulting you. We are and always have been a democratic organization.
We are working to improve our relationship with Boeing, and the Machinists Union has made several overtures to that effect. Improving the relationship to bring about a different result in bargaining is a priority. We plan to dedicate a lot of time and resources to this effort.
To use politicians as microphones to deliver a message, creates problems and does nothing to improve the relationship. The two sides need to work without the outside influence of politicians, analysts and reporters. Many of Boeing’s problems with their employees have escalated because of this type of tactic.
Rather than re-create the labor laws that give workers the right to withhold their labor, we should all be working together to improve the relationship.
Several members have also asked questions on management Q&A’s regarding the Boeing/Vought deal – specifically on the answer that mentioned Boeing had negotiated several agreements with the IAM this year. The following are recent agreements we have made to help Boeing be more successful:
• Allowing partners (vendors) to come into the factories here in Puget Sound to perform warranty work in an effort to expedite first flight of 787 and correct many of the challenges facing that airplane.
• Allowed Boeing to bring in employees from St. Louis and Wichita to help on the 787, as long as they were still hiring employees here.
• Agreed to extended temporary promotions of Grade 3 to Grade 4, which mitigated WARN notices.
In addition, to assist members who are facing layoff, we signed a letter of understanding, which allows laid-off or terminated employees the option of continuing to make payments on their VIP loans after leaving the payroll.
Again, we have a 4-year agreement in place, and we are willing to listen to any proposals by the Company on any topic. To date, no proposals have been made by the Boeing Company. We believe everyone should remain focused on getting the 787 certified, which is critical to the future of all of us.