More than 18,400 Machinists at Boeing will vote September 29 on a revised contract offer that resoundingly proves the value of membership solidarity and resolve in a collective bargaining showdown.
The new offer contains dramatic improvements over the company’s so-called “final offer,” which triggered a walkout that shut down Boeing’s commercial operations in Kansas, Oregon and Washington state.
On every major issue, Boeing was forced to withdraw their takeaway proposals and concede to IAM members’ demands.
“Because of the solidarity and unified courage of our members, we achieved a better pension, better seniority rights, better recall rights, maintained one of the best health care packages in the country with no additional costs, achieved better job security and preserved retiree health care for past retirees, current members, and future hires,” declared Mark Blondin, District 751 President.
Boeing also withdrew a proposal that would have provided less in pay and benefits for IAM members working in Wichita, Kansas.
“We went into these negotiations together and we were determined to come out together,” said Steve Rooney, President of District 70 in Wichita. “Rather than be divided by sellout proposals, we are more unified than ever.”
The strike at Boeing was seen as a crucial test for the labor movement. Despite three years of consistent profits, the plane maker sought deep cuts in health care and offered a pension benefit that was the lowest percentage pension benefit increase in decades.
A victory for the company would have triggered a renewed assault on employees and union members at successful companies nationwide.
“Our members not only said no to Boeing, they said no to Corporate America’s greed,” said Aerospace Coordinator Dick Schneider. “From the start, they were determined to make Boeing “Do the Right Thing.”
“The final word on this tentative agreement will be in the hands of our members, where it belongs,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger, who participated in the negotiations that led to the revised offer.
“But this agreement, and the dramatic improvement over what the company originally proposed, should be the last word in any debate over the value of a militant union and a determined membership in today’s cutthroat economic environment.”