The vote of IAM 751 membership on the Boeing contract proposal is Wednesday, and over the weekend, some disturbing details emerged in the non-stop coverage locally.
The Seattle Times’ Dominic Gates reports that it’s now clear there is a schism between the IAM International HQ in “the Other Washington” and the IAM 751 local leadership. Readers will recall that last Thursday, Tom Wroblewski, president of the local, dramatically called the proposed contract, containing substantial take-aways (as local membership calls it), “crap” and tore up the agreement. It was entirely a symbolic move; the International decreed the vote would proceed as planned.
For someone who purportedly helped negotiate the agreement, this was odd behavior, to say the least. With Gates’ reporting, it now appears there is far more to the back story than meets the eye.
The 751 media team has been put on ice by International, and all media calls (including ours) are now referred to the International. The local leadership isn’t making statements to the press; it was an International official who spoke with Gates.
It’s now pretty clear that International is driving this train, apparently by-passing the local leadership in crafting this contract extension.
The question is, “why?” What’s in it for the International to negotiate an agreement that has so split the local membership?
Whatever the outcome, Boeing comes up a winner. If it gets contract approval, it has a divided IAM 751 membership. If the contract isn’t approved, it has a divided membership and a free hand to take the 777X to Charleston, where the 787 is also assembled, to Texas, where it has a facility, to Utah, where it has another operation (and all of which are right-to-work states), or an option to take another crack at reaching an agreement here.
In any case, it’s clear there is a split between the IAM 751 and the IAM International, and this can only benefit Boeing.
Gates’ Sunday reporting includes some language that, for a family newspaper, is pretty unusual. Coupled with Wroblewski’s “crap” and Sunday’s reporting, not since the days of President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky detailed an entirely new use for cigars has mainstream reporting been so graphic.
Here are some weekend stories:
In a break from all the doom-and-gloom, hand-wringing and controversies surrounding the IAM-Boeing stuff, Seattle Times columnist Ron Judd on Sundays takes an irreverent look at news in the Puget Sound area. He lent his wit and sarcasm to this issue in Once again, Boeing’s got our back.