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Sun December 15, 2013
Boeing Machinists Say They'll Ask NLRB To Help Force A Vote
Some Boeing machinists angry at their union leaders plan to ask for help from the National Labor Relations Board.
They’re upset that local leaders from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers turned down Boeing’s best and final offer without putting it to members for a vote. The offer would have secured assembly of the next 777 jet in Washington state along with the carbon-fiber wing fabrication.
But local leaders from the union say the proposal from Boeing asked for too many concessions on retirement and health benefits as well as wages.
Paul Fritzler, who works on the 767 in Everett and has been with Boeing for three years, says he wants to file an unfair labor practice charge against the union for not letting members vote.
"That’s our main goal right now, is to try to get some help to force this to a vote," Fritzler said.
Fritzler’s son and son-in-law work for Boeing, and his wife and daughter run a day care that many Boeing workers use. He and his family have started a Facebook page called Give Us a Voice.
"The effect of Boeing pulling out of Washington would be devastating," Fritzler said. "I mean, it'd be devastating for my family personally. It would also be devastating for the community as a whole."
But it’s not even clear if there’s still an offer they could vote on. Local union spokesman Bryan Corliss said Boeing withdrew the proposal last Thursday when local leaders said they couldn’t give it a yes recommendation. On the District Lodge 751 website, president Tom Wroblewski explained what happened.
"When we replied that we couldn’t in good faith encourage you to vote for a proposal like this — which would destroy our retirement benefits, significantly raise medical costs and sharply limit your future earnings — Boeing rescinded the offer," Wroblewski said.
Last week, a Boeing spokesman said the company did not withdraw the offer; he said it was simply that the union leadership rejected it.
And to confuse the matter even more, leaders from the union’s international headquarters have been quoted as saying there may still be a chance to bring the offer up for a vote.