Machinists union leaders say Boeing betrayed them - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Machinists union leaders say Boeing betrayed them

B777-200LR aircraft at a Boeing facility in Washington state B777-200LR aircraft at a Boeing facility in Washington state

SEATTLE, Wash. - Leaders of the Machinists union in Seattle say they feel betrayed by Boeing's decision to locate a new 787 production line in South Carolina.

Tom Wroblewski, president of the local that represents Boeing's Seattle-area production workers, says it had offered Boeing a 10-year contract, but company negotiators seemed stunned and stopped talking.

Wroblewski accused Boeing of using the talks as a smoke screen and a bargaining chip to get a bigger tax break from South Carolina.

A strike by the union last year forced Boeing to shut its commercial jet operations for eight weeks. Labor relations were considered key to Washington's bid to keep all 787 production in the state.

Previous Coverage
Sen. Murray calls Boeing move to SC shortsighted

Sen. Patty Murray says Boeing is overlooking its well-trained workers in its decision to build its next airplane assembly line in South Carolina.

The Washington Democrat had been trying to broker a deal between the company and the Machinists union to build a second 787 production line production in Everett, but Boeing chose Charleston after lawmakers there approved a big incentive package to lure the new line and the thousands of jobs that would come with it.

Murray calls that decision shortsighted and says it overlooks generations of experience building airplanes in the region around Seattle.

Gregoire: Boeing presence still strong here

Gov. Chris Gregoire says Washington state remains a strong player in the aerospace industry, despite the Boeing Co.'s decision to put a second 787 production line in South Carolina.

Gregoire says she and senior members of the congressional delegation worked hard to encourage an agreement with Boeing and the Machinists union, but the two sides apparently couldn't reach a long-term no-strike agreement.

Republican leaders say Gregoire should have called in the Legislature to offer more financial incentives to Boeing, but Gregoire maintains that Boeing didn't want more incentives for a second 787 line.

Washington had already enacted a multibillion-dollar incentive package to win the original 787 project. Boeing is Washington's largest private employer.

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