Say Job Protections Don't Go Far Enough
"I don't like it... It's basically the 2005 contract with
minimal changes." That's how 11-year Boeing employee Kim Dove
characterized the tentative agreement reached this week by Boeing
management and representatives with the International Association
of Machinists. And he's not alone.
As ANN reported, both sides came to the
agreement late Monday evening, following five days of talks
supervised by a federal mediator. IAM endorsed the deal, which
Boeing hopes will end a nearly two-month strike that has idled the
planemaker's production lines and halted deliveries. A vote is
scheduled for Saturday.
Besides upgraded pay and bonuses, and a stronger health plan for
the 27,000 Boeing workers represented by IAM, the proposed contract
also includes language giving job security to union-represented
forklift operators and other support workers at Boeing, which
earlier agreements failed to provide.
"The revisions ... provide job security to over 5,000 members
that Boeing otherwise could have replaced with vendors and
contractors inside the factory gates," IAM said following release
of the details of the new contract.
However, some workers say that language doesn't go far enough
towards protecting union jobs from outsourcing. Dove told The
Associated Press he feels those terms wouldn't stand up in any
future disputes with Boeing, or when the contract comes up for
renegotiation in four years... though he did admit the new contract
does grant additional job protections.
Concerns about future outsourcing were echoed by Skip Thompson,
a 21-year Boeing employee on the 747 line. He said the contract
only protects workers from outsourcing over the term of the
contract; when it expires in 2012, those jobs would once again be
at risk. And 787 line worker Dan Swank says some passages meant to
bar work performed by an outside vendor on that airliner's inflight
entertainment system had already been rendered moot.
Workers did find things to like about the deal... though that
doesn't guarantee they'll vote to approach the TA. Kevin Dills, a
22-year Boeing veteran on the 777 line, says he was glad to see
changes on subcontracting, though he's not sure Boeing's
concessions are enough. He also told the AP he wished both sides
had negotiated a five-year contract, instead of four.
IAM leaders admit the deal isn't perfect... but they implored
workers to focus on the positives.
"By any measure, this contract proposal is a good offer," union
leaders wrote on the IAM Web site. "Did it get everything, no.
However, we made significant gains with respect to job security and
the ability to help guide this company into the future."
We should know by late Saturday evening whether machinists have
opted to return to work, or continue their strike. The contract
will be ratified or rejected by a simple majority vote.