IAM votes down Boeing’s pension proposal

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Union members have rejected Boeing’s offer regarding changes to their pension arrangements, setting the stage for the airframer to explore assembling the future 777X aircraft outside of Everett, Washington.

“Today, the democratic process worked and our members made the decision to not accept the company’s proposal,” said International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District 751 directing business representative Tom Wroblewski in a statement.

IAM 751 says that 67% of union members voted against Boeing’s proposal, which called on the union to agree to the conversion of a company-funded pension to a defined contribution plan, among other concessions. It also offered to pay the employees a $10,000 signing bonus.

Boeing president and chief executive Ray Conner said Boeing was “disappointed at the union vote” and that the company’s pension proposal was designed to retain the competitiveness of production in Washington’s Puget Sound region.

“Without the terms of this contract extension, we're left with no choice but to open the process competitively and pursue all options for the 777X,” he said.

“It is my belief that we represent the best aerospace workforce in the world and hope that as a result of this vote Boeing will not discard our skills when looking to place the 777X,” adds Wroblewski.

“We preserved something sacred by rejecting the Boeing proposal. We’ve held on to our pensions and that’s big. At a time when financial planners are talking about a ‘retirement crisis’ in America, we have preserved a tool that will help our members retire with more comfort and dignity.”