Boeing describes the overall compensation package in its "best and final" contract offer to the Machinists union as the best in the industry...
Boeing describes the overall compensation package in its “best and final” contract offer to the Machinists union as the best in the industry. Local Machinists head Mark Blondin says the offer falls short in the union’s three biggest areas of concern: pensions, health care and job security.
With Machinists voting today whether to accept Boeing’s offer, it’s instructive to compare the proposal’s economic provisions to other recent Machinist contracts in the aerospace industry.
No two contracts are exactly the same, of course, making head-to-head comparisons difficult, and typically not all contract provisions are made public. In addition, there are a lot fewer U.S. aerospace companies than there used to be, further limiting comparisons.
But overall, Boeing is offering more cash upfront than other recent Machinist contracts, while limiting the costs over the three-year life of the contract.
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Wages: Boeing is offering annual 1 percent cost-of-living increases, plus a 2.5 percent increase in the third year.
Earlier this year, Machinists in California and Georgia approved a three-year contract with Lockheed providing a 4 percent wage increase the first year and 3 percent increases in the second and third years, plus a $700 annual cost-of-living supplement. Last December, Machinists at jet-engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut ratified a three-year contract with 3.5, 3 and 3 percent annual pay raises.
Boeing’s former workers in Wichita, Kan., who now work for Spirit AeroSystems, didn’t fare nearly as well. This summer, Boeing sold its Wichita commercial-airplane operations to Canadian buyout firm Onex; the five-year contract with Onex that was eventually ratified by the Machinists included an immediate 10 percent pay cut, with publicly undisclosed increases in each of the contract’s last three years.
Bonuses: Boeing is offering $3,000 lump-sum payments in both the first and second years — $4,500 if workers deposit their payments in their 401(k)-style retirement accounts.
The Lockheed and Pratt & Whitney workers got one-time $1,500 bonuses on ratification; the Pratt & Whitney bonuses grew to $2,250 if rolled into a 401(k)-type account.
Incentives: Boeing is offering workers the chance to earn up to five extra days’ pay each year of the contract, up to a maximum of 15 days’ pay.
At Spirit in Wichita, each worker received options for 1,000 shares of company stock, partly to offset the 10 percent pay cut. The options vest if Spirit goes public, merges or is sold to another company, but only if the transaction generates a 15 percent annual return to the original investors.
Pensions: Boeing is offering to raise its monthly pension benefit to $66 per year of service, the same level that Lockheed workers approved.
Health care: Under Boeing’s offer, workers would pay 5 to 15 percent of their health-insurance premiums, depending on which plan they choose. Blondin says the offer would double or triple monthly premiums. Boeing says, however, that one option allows workers to pay no premiums, though only if they receive “wellness credits” by taking part in health-management programs.
The Lockheed workers pay a fixed 13 percent of their health-insurance premiums, no matter which plan they choose. The Pratt & Whitney contract increased premium payments, co-pays and deductibles; the company estimated that the typical worker would pay $1,500 a year for coverage.
Retirees: Boeing’s offer would eliminate retiree health-care coverage for new hires, as have the new Lockheed and Pratt & Whitney contracts.
Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or email@example.com