Local labor influence takes hit in Boeing contract

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Associated Press

Posted on January 5, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Updated Sunday, Jan 5 at 6:02 AM

SEATTLE (AP) — Under pressure from regional leaders, machinists in Washington state took a late-night vote that defied their local union bosses by narrowly approving a new labor contract that secures a coveted plane project for the Seattle area but moves workers away from pensions.

The tight count Friday exposed deep rifts in the once-powerful union, but with plenty of states lining up to give Boeing exactly what it wanted to get work on the 777x, the aerospace giant had a tremendous advantage.

The company, the state's governor and national union leaders all hailed the contract as a vital boost to the region's economy, but to some observers the vote dealt a blow to local union influence.

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