IAM leaders recommending members go out on strike

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The International Association of Machinists (IAM) leadership will recommend rejection of the Boeing contract offer on Wednesday, leaving the company perilously close to a potentially damaging strike.

“It’s official,” said Mark Blondin, IAM national aerospace coordinator. “We are recommending to reject the contract and to vote to strike.”

In an interview, Blondin cited a list of reasons for rejecting the offer, including the lack of job security commitments, increases in medical plan costs, smaller pay increases for those low on the wage ladder, and pay and pension increases that didn’t meet expectations.

The union has also filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the company of violating labor law by “going around the union and trying to bargain directly with our members,” Blondin said.

Union members will vote Wednesday and a strike could start at midnight after the vote count if two thirds of the voters take the union leadership’s advice.

At Boeing’s wide-body jet plant in Everett this morning, about 7,000 Machinists marched in solidarity beneath a large banner hanging from a balcony emblazoned with just one word: “Strike!”

Jackie Boschok, an organizer on the staff of the International Association of Machinists (IAM), said the workers at the rally indicated their rejection of the company’s contract offer with chants of “Paint the Lines,” a reference to the green lines Boeing security has traditionally painted on sidewalks around the plants to define the areas where picketers cannot cross during strikes.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com