Union leaders called the offer an "insult" that "failed to come close on any of issues."
Leaders of the Machinists union at Boeing today blasted the company’s initial offer on a new three-year labor agreement as an “insult” that “failed to come close on any of [the union’s] issues.”
The angrily worded statement shattered an unusual calm that had surrounded talks between Boeing and the largest union at the company since negotiations opened June 10.
The existing contract between Boeing and the International Association of Machinists, District 751, which represents 18,500 workers, expires shortly after midnight Sept. 2.
Boeing delivered its offer to IAM leaders early this morning, according to the union. Negotiators have been holding round-the-clock meetings at the Doubletree Hotel in SeaTac since Aug. 15. Until today, specific proposals with hard numbers had not been exchanged.
When the data arrived, the Machinists were not pleased.
A statement posted on the IAM Web site shortly after noon complained that the proposal “fell well short,” particularly on the union’s three priority items: “very meager increase in pensions, takeaways in health care, virtually no job security provisions.”
“Boeing has tripled their profits mainly because of your efforts,” the statement said. “The thanks you get is a direct slap in the face.”
Boeing countered with a measured statement to managers from Jerry Calhoun, the company’s chief negotiator, that praised the offer’s merits but disclosed no details.
“The offer we presented is balanced and competitive, respects the contributions of our team, and compares favorably with recent contract settlements in our industry,” Calhoun said.
Beyond the statements, representatives of the union and Boeing declined to provide additional comment.
The two sides continued negotiating this afternoon.
The Machinists said they immediately set to work on a counter-offer, but did not indicate when it would be delivered to Boeing.
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