Boeing machinists working on the company’s 777x jetliner in Washington state voted Wednesday to reject a proposed labor contract that would last through 2024.
Sixty-seven percent of the members of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) voted against the proposal, primarily because the deal eliminated workers’ pension plans and raised health care costs.
IAM District 751 Directing Business Representative Tom Wroblewski said in a statement: “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.”
Boeing indicated the union vote forces the company to build the aircraft elsewhere, despite Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s approval of a package of tax breaks worth $9 billion for the airline company.
“We are very disappointed in the outcome of the union vote,” the statement read. “Our goal was two-fold: to enable the 777X and its new composite wing to be produced in Puget Sound and to create a competitive structure to ensure that we continue market-leading pay, health care and retirement benefits while preserving jobs and our industrial base here in the region. But 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.
Boeing will now look to manufacture the jets in another state or in Japan, NBC News said.