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IAM members to have last word on Boeing proposal this week

When a company forms a partnership with its workers it finds success and stability. In that spirit this Friday January 3, 2014, more than 30,000 International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers members at Boeing will have an opportunity to cast ballots on an historic proposal that would locate 777X wing fabrication and final assembly in Puget Sound.

The proposal, which extends the current IAM-Boeing agreement to 2024, also contains an eight-year extension of the commitment to build the 737MAX in Puget Sound. In a letter mailed this week to all IAM members covered by the IAM-Boeing contract, IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger discusses the economic value of changes to Boeing’s previous offer.

“The total value of the new improvements to the contract offer adds more than $1 billion to the previous offer,” wrote Buffenbarger. “I believe this represents a significant improvement worthy of the membership’s consideration. The total value of the Company’s current proposal is nearly $5 billion as of today’s calculations.”

In addition to securing the 777X and 737MAX, the contract extension provides a $10,000 bonus payment upon ratification and adds a $5,000 bonus payable in January 2020. The current proposal also preserves the six-year progression for new employees to reach top pay for a particular job classification. Further details of the contract extension are available at www.iamcontract.org.

The decision to hold the Jan. 3 vote follows an intense and ongoing debate among members and in the media over the merits of the proposal and the wisdom of bringing it to a vote.

“I cannot conceive of a rationale for determining the membership doesn’t deserve a right to vote on a contract proposal,” said Buffenbarger. “In the IAM, the membership deserves the final say and it is incumbent upon IAM leadership at all levels, from Shop Stewards to District Officers, to assist and assure that it is the members who make the critical decisions in their Union.”

Results of the day-long vote will be announced later that day following a tally of all ballots.