Striking Machinists at Boeing received a heaping dose of union solidarity yesterday when a coalition of seven national labor organizations...
Striking Machinists at Boeing received a heaping dose of union solidarity yesterday when a coalition of seven national labor organizations donated $125,000 to support the 2-week-old walkout against the aerospace giant.
Standing on a flatbed truck in front of Boeing’s old headquarters on East Marginal Way, Anna Burger, the chairwoman of the Change to Win coalition, announced the contribution in front of a rowdy crowd of about 100 Machinists and members of other local unions.
“Working people know that if a company as profitable as Boeing can skimp on retirement and health care, everyone’s future is at risk,” said Burger, who stood alongside Mark Blondin, president of the International Association of Machinists (IAM), District 751.
Change to Win was formed this summer by unions that say the main umbrella group for the U.S. labor movement, the AFL-CIO, isn’t doing enough to organize workers.
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The IAM a week ago also received $5,000 from the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) union, which is in the early stages of negotiating a new contract of its own with Boeing. SPEEA’s contract expires Dec. 1.
Many in the crowd wore the purple jackets of the Service Employees International Union, Local 1199, which represents more than 4,000 nurses and health-care workers in the Puget Sound area.
One of the Machinists’ main complaints is that Boeing has offered to increase their monthly pension payments by only 10 percent, to $66 per month from $60 per month now.
By contrast, Diane Sosne, president of SEIU, Local 1199, said her members are fighting a move by Swedish Medical Center to completely rewrite their retirement options.
Still, Sosne said, SEIU members are eager to see the IAM prevail.
“We need to maintain standards for unionized workers so that other workers can have a chance to have the same kind of benefits,” Sosne said.
“We admire what the Machinists have been able to achieve in their years of collective bargaining.”
Tom Kingshott, secretary-treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 44, based in Mount Vernon, said the 3,400 retail workers, meat packers and health-care workers he represents also feel a kinship with the IAM.
“Their fight is our fight,” said Kingshott, shortly after giving a check for $1,000 to Bruce Spalding, IAM secretary-treasurer. “(Boeing) is profitable. They just want to be more profitable at the expense of the union.”
Blondin said there have still been no talks between the Machinists and Boeing since the strike began Sept. 2, despite efforts by Gov. Christine Gregoire and Sen. Patty Murray to jump-start negotiations.
Blondin said the union is ready to talk any time, but he said Boeing’s “best-and-final” offer is a nonstarter since it was voted down by 86 percent of his members.
“They have to take that offer off the table,” Blondin said.
Boeing, meanwhile, insists its proposal to the Machinists union was generous and competitive, and must be the starting point for any negotiations.
“The contract offer that we made to the IAM is respectful, balanced and well above market. We remain willing to discuss reasonable proposals around that offer,” Jerry Calhoun, Boeing’s chief negotiator with the Machinists, said in a message to managers Wednesday.
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Boeing may lose
part of contract
Boeing may lose part of a U.S. spy-satellite contract to rival Lockheed Martin because of continued cost and schedule problems, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The Pentagon office that manages spy-satellite programs and the director of national intelligence are reviewing options to transfer one part of the satellite program — known as the future-imagery architecture — to Lockheed Martin, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The program’s value isn’t public record, though analysts estimate it to be worth as much as $19 billion.
The transfer was recommended to the Pentagon about a month ago by an independent panel formed to review the latest cost and scheduling trends, said one of the people familiar with the matter.
“We have not been notified by the customer about any changes to the program,” Boeing spokeswoman Kim Krantz said.
Beth Marple, spokeswoman for the National Intelligence director, and National Reconnaissance Office spokesman Rick Oborn declined to comment.
Separately yesterday, India’s space agency said a subsidiary of Boeing has canceled an agreement to help produce communication satellites.
The Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, said Boeing Satellite Systems pulled out after deciding to withdraw from producing light satellites.
and The Associated Press
agrees to lease deal
PT Garuda Indonesia, the nation’s biggest airline, said yesterday that it signed an agreement with Boeing to lease planes valued at $2 billion.
Garuda will lease 28 aircraft, spokesman Pujobroto said. The Jakarta-based company will lease 10 Boeing 710-787 Dreamliners and 18 Boeing 737-New Generations, he said.
The Dreamliner planes will be acquired as soon as 2011, the company said. The statement didn’t say when it will lease the 737s.