Boeing employee claims union is withholding info

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 10:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 24 at 12:15 PM

RENTON, Wash. -- A longtime Boeing employee filed a complaint earlier this month with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging his Machinists Union Local 751 "breached its duty" by "withholding information necessary to vote" on a contract extension proposal.

Boeing says the proposal is crucial to keeping construction on the 777X jet in the Puget Sound.

The worker, who started at Boeing in 1985, is named Timothy Limestall, a former union steward himself.

"I think we're being whipsawed against the international and the local (branches of the Machinists Union).  The only ones that are going to lose are the Machinists," said Limestall.

Limestall's claim was filed December 11, but was retracted last Friday. He said he was advised to make that move, and plans to refile the allegation after the holiday.

His frustration comes from what he believes is a lack of information from the local union leadership. Limestall said the only clarity regarding the new contract proposal, which is voted on January 3rd, has come in the form of "propaganda."

"It's like stealing the vote," he continued, "If they steal this and they steal our vote, then it's not just us that lose.  Everybody loses."

A spokesperson for the local Machinists Union said it was aware of the complaint and its attorney was not involved. He added that information has been made available to union members on the upcoming vote in a variety of ways, both at work and online. A quick check of the union's website shows copies of the contract and other material.

The January 3rd vote would extend the Machinists Union contract with Boeing and keep construction of the 777X plane in the Puget Sound. 

Limestall, who was one of the few union members who voted for the first contract offer in November, said he's not the only one frustrated with a lack of information.  His frustrations extend to the divide between international and local union leaders.  The former supports Boeing's proposal, the latter does not.

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