Some Boeing machinists threaten to act against union

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by ZAHID ARAB / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 4, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 5 at 1:07 AM

With the assembly of the new 777X on the line, Boeing workers give up pensions and benefits to make sure it's built here in the Puget Sound area.

The eight-year contract extension passed by about 600 votes. Those that voted yes say it was to prevent mass layoffs, but the no's think the agreement undermines years of hard work.

For Boeing technician Tony Hell, the results of the vote reversed four different strikes where he fought to keep pension, medical benefits and salary.

“To see that get taken away in an instant is devastating, it’s like everything I’ve worked for sacrificed for was thrown in the trash,” he said.

By saying yes, workers will get a $10,000 signing bonus and money towards a 401K.

“Oh, we're going to give you a 401K, so? Once that's gone it’s gone. A pension is forever,” said Cammy Hell, a technician.

The Hells expect younger and mid-range employees to be among the hardest hit.

“How do you save when you don’t have any money to save?” said Tim Hell.

But considering the consequences of saying no and Boeing building the 777X elsewhere, Ronnie Burtis says many like him voted to approve the contract.

“They saw the possibility of Boeing leaving and the major layoffs that would come so they decided they had to vote in favor of their families,” said Burtis.

The no's say union leadership didn't properly educate workers about the contract and didn't fight to delay a vote until everyone was back from the holidays.

The Hells say many plan to take action on Monday.
 
“All go withdraw from the union because they shouldn't get our dues. We'll donate it to charity instead,” said Cammy Hell.

“We’re slowly being torn apart. It's a sad, sad day I think,” said Tim Hell.

With the slim margin of difference, machinists we spoke to hope there's a recount. But so far, no formal decision has been made.

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