777X saga, continued: KING5 speaks with rank-and-file in 45 minute interview

777X saga, continued: KING5 (NBC, Seattle) has a 45 minute panel interview with several rank-and-file members of the IAM 751 Machinists Union to talk about the contract and the Boeing 777X site selection.

As of this moment, the interview follows a commercial from Roto-Rooter. With our warped sense of humor, we could come up with all kinds of ribald comments. But we won’t.


24 Comments on “777X saga, continued: KING5 speaks with rank-and-file in 45 minute interview

  1. The local media has certainly done a good job of figuring out ways to keep this ordeal in the news, even when there is no news to report. They have to run a relay to do it, but between them, they manage it.

  2. Interesting re the Pension issue that tweaked so many – for reasons both obvious and not so obvious to outsiders, press, and many employees.

    1) A defined benefit plan such as IAM and SPEEA and about 1/2 dozen other unions is a ‘ back loaded” plan- a simple way of saying one must stay employed for dozens of years to get a decent payback- sort of like ‘ golden’ or in this case ‘aluminum” handcuffs- and the company has all risk and some neat tax rewards under ERISA

    2) A 401K type plan removes all risk by the company, along with the ability to stick surplus funding of a defined benefit plan into OPERATING EARNINGS as has been done many times over the years.

    3) For most years- the standard benefit formula ( xx$/year of credited service ) applied to most of the IAM, and a minority of SPEEA Engineers, who usually got the alternate benefit formula – which has NOT changed since 1992-93. The company is required to run both calculations ( and perhaps a third minimum version ) and give the retiree the best- highest number.

    4) Most getting the standard benefit xx$/month/year of service do not realize that for 2 months of the year ( november and december at least ) there is NO gain in credited service – thus the Boeing bit about a boost and freeze in October..
    The reason is not obvious – until one reads closely the ‘ rules”. Boeing gives 45 hours/week of service credit against 2000 hours for one year. That means that after 44.4 weeks, the one year/plan year is reached. and no more than ONE year per plan year is allowed ( plan year is CY) . Thats not really a bad deal – but it does also affect the alternate benefit calc.

    5) The press and the company PR always push the xx% increase in pension, which affects over time those with less than say 25 years of service, but has NO affect on many of the longer service types in IAM and SPEEA.

    6) In 1999 the company converted all non union to a mixed plan- cash balance plan which combined the features of the defined benefit plan and a 401k plan. It was/is a good deal for the younger- but hosed the older. Why BA did not propose then plan known as the Pension Value Plan with over 80,000 employees in place is a puzzle, or some melding thereof. It approaches a share the risk and perhaps the so called awards of a 401k plan. And it still allowed boeing to scoop surplus funds in any year into operating earnings.
    7) It did not help thatm SPEEA dropped the ball on that issue with some off the wall complaints about certain effects of the alternate plan calcs and SS amounts involved. Perhaps Boeing thought IAM would fall for the freeze by using cherry picked numbers and unique age games in their PR ?

    8) IMO it now seems certain that Boeing knew in advance they wanted IAM TO TURN DOWN the intimidation game- for what ultimate purpose is unknown>

  3. Skilled labour for $33000 pa? That’s not much more than illegal immigrants make in Western Europe these days, and Boeing claim wages are killing them. Their management problems are worse than I thought.

  4. Dear Leeham reps,

    This was a good video and I appreciate you posting it.

    I think the Union people pretty much have a solid fix on what’s happening, but are afraid to drill down to the core truth of the situation. For example, one of the Union panel says (Paraphrased) “Boeing is like a small child who holds their breath and hurts themselves when admonished”. In effect, by threatening to move the 777x work out of Washington, Boeing is in effect saying “Give us what we want or we’ll punch ourselves in the face again….just like we did on the 787”. And…the Union reps made a very sound economic case as to why it would be foolish for Boeing to do this….and so some have concluded Boeing won’t do it.

    I respectfully disagree. I think Boeing Management is perfectly capable of hurting the company financially just to make a point. And why not? I mean…do you think any Boeing Executive’s paychecks, stock options, retirement plans, or bonuses are actually at risk as a result of having the company lose Billions…or even go under?

    Seriously…if you don’t think the Boeing Execs would demolish the financial bottom line just to make a point, then look at the 787 Program as guidance. Now that the 787 Development Program was Billions over Budget and Deferred Costs are approaching $25 Billion, how many Boeing executives have been properly admonished – much less fired – for the disaster? Also…what has been fixed about the way the Boeing company is run to help insure the same financial blood-letting won’t occur on the 777x Program? And…most importantly….why should Boeing Execs change their style at all, for they are are making Million$!

    Also, didn’t we learn from the 2008 Banking Debacle that companies could go Bankrupt while their executives made a fortune – that the interests of the companies and their executives aren’t necessarily aligned? Have we learned anything?

    • Sort of like Pablo Escobar offering to pay the Colombian governments foreign debt because, well, “I won’t notice it anyway”?

  5. On the subject of corporate self harm and blame shifting, back about 40 years ago the UK had several car manufacturers. These companies were in perennial economic problems because of underinvestment in new product and general bad management. When all the UK owned makers went bankrupt many politicians and leaders of business claimed it was because of the useless, unionised labour force. These days the UK is one of the biggest car producing countries in the world, all they needed to do was change British management for Japanese (Toyota, Nissan etc) or US. (Ford, GM) You see, it had nothing to do with the workforce at all.

    Will Boeing follow Austin and Morris into the history books?

    • Will Boeing follow Austin and Morris into the history books?

      Nope – too big to fail – BA is and has been in the top 5 of $$ exportors for years.

      I note that one of the union members on king said BA had always been run by engine-ears. Nope- BUT engine-ears were allowed to make most major decisions.

      Bill Allen was a lawyer for example. Boeing was a wealthy ‘ playboy: re an iron ore fortune. F s˙rontz was a lawyer

      T wilson WAS an Engineer
      So was Phil Condit – he coined the ‘ working together’ bit on 777 . . . which was essentially the last new airplane that came close to schedule and cost.

    • Oh come on Martin, laying all the blame at “management’s” door is as silly as laying it all at unionism’s door. Yes much of the company management was bad, but so was much of the union management, especially the likes of Red Robbo. Both deserved what actually killed them, the appalling build ‘quality’.

      • I don’t know what a RED ROBBO is but I learnt to drive on a Morris Marina. Just surprising that Leyland lived as long as it did, or that I made it to 20.

  6. In some countries it is illegal for a corporation to trade knowing it cannot pay its debts and obligations.
    Can Boeing demonstrate it can pay its deferred costs which continue to escalate?

    • They didn’t miss it. They ignored it. They were apprised of it.

      It was neither missed nor ignored by some in the IAM rank and file. They attempted to post links to the story on the District 751 and IAM international Facebook pages. Under the rather wobbly excuse of campaign violations, commenting was shut off on the 751 page, and the international’s Facebook page was shut down entirely.

      Even more pathetic is the IAM throwing it’s members under the bus far enough that they feel obligated to go on KING5 News to defend their position on recent matters. It would seem to me that they PAY dues for professional representation that should make such actions unnecessary. It would appear the IAM, both locally and nationally, is unprofessional, in addition to being inept and bumbling as the owner of this blog has noted multiple times.

      The situation seems a plus, as every time the IAM leadership opens it’s mouth, a foot goes right in. Aside from that, one could look at the IAM’s silence as either payback against a rebellious rank and file, or a sign that something is going on behind the scenes regard a new offer (unlikely unless it’s the same one as before) or counter-offer (foolish). I am told that at least one goon from the international is still in town. Sort of like the NKVD political officers in a soviet penal battalion.

      • http://www.dol.gov/olms/regs/compliance/volun_agree_2013.

        On August 15, 2013, the Department entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), located in Upper Marlboro, Md., concerning the 2013 election of international officers. The IAM agreed to conduct new nominations and a new election, if necessary, for the offices of international president, general secretary-treasurer and eight general vice presidents under OLMS supervision prior to June 2014. The investigation disclosed that the union failed to provide notice of nomination to the membership regarding the nomination of international officers, local lodges did not provide notice of their nomination meetings to all members, and members were denied a reasonable opportunity to nominate candidates when some members were working at the time of the nomination meeting and/or endorsement vote and no alternative method of nomination was provided. The agreement follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office.

        Note that is the Wash DC office, not the Seattle Office
        There should be some other public notices and data available somewhere possibly later..

  7. about elections


    Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

    Conducting Local Union Officer Elections
    A Guide for Election Officials

    a bit of digging on site should find similar for National- International

    such as


    LMRDA Title IV – Elections
    Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, As Amended
    Title IV – Elections
    Terms of Office; Election Procedures
    (29 U.S.C. 481)
    Sec. 401. (a) Every national or international labor organization, except a federation of national or international labor organizations, shall elect its officers not less often than once every five years either by secret ballot among the members in good standing or at a convention of delegates chosen by secret ballot.
    (b) Every local labor organization shall elect its officers not less often than once every three years by secret ballot among the members in good standing.
    (c) Every national or international labor organization, except a federation of national or international labor organizations, and every local labor organization, and its officers, shall be under a duty, enforceable at the suit of any bona fide candidate for office in such labor organization in the district court of the United States in which such labor organization maintains its principal office, to comply with all reasonable requests of any candidate to distribute by mail or otherwise at the candidate’s expense campaign literature in aid of such person’s candidacy to all members in good standing of such labor organization and to refrain from discrimination in favor of or against any candidate with respect to the use of lists of members, and whenever such labor organizations or its officers authorize the distribution by mail or otherwise to members of campaign literature on behalf of any candidate or of the labor organization itself with reference to such election, similar distribution at the request of any other bona fide candidate shall be made by such labor organization and its officers, with equal treatment as to the expense of such distribution. Every bona fide candidate shall have the right, once within 30 days prior to an election of a labor organization in which he is a candidate, to inspect a list containing the names and last known addresses of all members of the labor organization who are subject to a collective bargaining agreement requiring membership therein as a condition of employment, which list shall be maintained and kept at the principal office of such labor organization by a designated official thereof. Adequate safeguards to insure a fair election shall be provided, including the right of any candidate to have an observer at the polls and at the counting of the ballots.
    (d) Officers of intermediate bodies, such as general committees, system boards, joint boards, or joint councils, shall be elected not less often than once every four years by secret ballot among the members in good standing or by labor organization officers representative of such members who have been elected by
    secret ballot.

    Goes on . . . but above should be enough to start and figure out what the REAL rules are

  8. Interesting- As I recall- the so called negotiations re IAM started in mid August 2013.

    That was the same time the OLMS- DOL release about improper elections was listed on the Govt site ( posting dates are from one to 3 weeks typically ) after the issue is ‘ resolved’

    ” …On August 15, 2013, the Department entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), located in Upper Marlboro, Md., concerning the 2013 election of international officers….

    The posting date was probably a week or two after 15 August. Which means that the International knew but probably the issue had not filtered down to the locals.

    something is VERY rotten …

  9. Too many emotions. “We have a history” “record profits” and such. This is the same exact mentality that the machinists for the car companies had before they went to the South. Just talking themselves out of a job. This isn’t Europe. This isn’t Airbus, the work they do they do need to be trained for yes but they shouldn’t feel special, much less that “it is in their DNA” and therefore something that is only they can do. False. People in Brazil can build very good airplanes, Canadians can too, Europeans can too, Russians historically have been pretty good at it, and the Chinese will learn.

    • … Russians historically have been pretty good at it, and the Chinese will learn…

      well, the chinese labor would be cheap, and they have been building parts for decades… but do the whole 777x in 5 years or so ???

      And the corner offfice does not speak chinese.

      Sort of interesting- the first chief Engineer for boeing was chinese . .

      • The intent of mentioning the Chinese and all the rest is that competition globally will be fierce and in the future we cannot count on a comfortable duopoly with Airbus and Boeing. As such, yes, only 4-5% of the airplane’s final cost is in final assembly, but forever increasing pension and salary by 5% year over year is asinine, to put it in the words of one of those machinists. Further, hate to break it to them, but Americans are getting fatter and older. An expensive combination when it comes to healthcare in the USA. And I see a LOT of people taking smoke breaks every time I visit the good ol’ dreary PNW. Apparently these buffoons are shielded from what the rest of the workers in the company have to do; either put up an additional $50 per month or take a health quiz to see if you smoke. If you do, pay additional money. If you don’t, great. Just don’t be surprised if someone calls you out on one of your clandestine smoke breaks or complains of the cancer stick breath and smell. This is blatant thumbing the nose at the company’s burgeoning expenses in health care. Personally I think the company was saintly in their giving the IAM a chance. But they blew it, and the 777X won’t be built in WA. I wouldn’t in a million years if I were CEO. I don’t care how good the metrics say Everett and the Puget Sound are. I would spend the $3 billion to set up a line somewhere else, get the line working, and tell those IAM to stick their contract where the sun don’t shine.

  10. 6 30 pm tues dec 9 – king 5 tv is reporting that Ray Conner has been meeting with IAM union leaders this afternoon.. and that 777 was discussed…

    • 6 PM WED 11 DEC
      KING 5 now reporting that IAM have been presenting a new proposal to Boeing, no details yet, but supposedly some by Thursday.

      The thot plickens

      As usual the IAM International seems to be involved maybe Buffenbarger will turn in his IAM learjet for a 737BBJ ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *