Machinists overwhelmingly approve contract; 737 MAX coming to Renton

The 28,000 members of the IAM District 751 in Puget Sound and union members elsewhere ratified an historic contract with The Boeing Co. by 74 percent Wednesday.

The vote ensures that Boeing will build the 737 MAX in Renton and Boeing and Machinists will work together on issues in the future.

The agreement covers employees represented by the union in Washington, Oregon and Kansas, and extends the contract to September 2016.

The Boeing Co. applauded the vote by the Machinists.

"This contract will help secure a better future for our employees, our customers, our communities and our company," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a news release issued at about 9 p.m Wednesday.

"It reflects an effort on the part of the company and the union to find a better way to work together and achieve common ground. It's a balanced agreement that makes us more competitive and ensures that the 737 – the best single-aisle airplane in the world – continues to be built by the people who know how to do it best," he said.

Here is the text of the message to members on the union's website:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Congratulations. You have voted for jobs and ratified a four-year contract extension with the Boeing Co. by a vote of 74% to accept.

This agreement represents a historic moment in changing the relationship between this union and the Boeing Co. For the first time, company executives are committing to you to keep work in Puget Sound. They’re telling you that you, and the Machinists who come after you, will build the 737 MAX. You’ll build the P-8 Poseidon for the Navy, and the KC-46 tanker for the Air Force. And Boeing is committed to building twin-aisle jets in Everett, well into the future.

As a result of this vote, we have the strongest commitment to the future of aerospace jobs in Washington state that we’ve ever had.

We’ve also preserved retiree medical and pensions for new hires. Those are things that very few working people in America have today.

And just as important, this contract extension is the start of a new chapter in the IAM-Boeing relationship. We’re going to form a joint council of representatives from the top level of both the company and the union, which will meet monthly to pursue opportunities and work together to solve problems.

This committee has agreed to four mutual objectives, and first among them is this: Creating and sustaining good-paying jobs with benefits. Thanks to your vote on this contract extension, that now is one of the Boeing Co.’s stated goals.

Over the past decade, this union and Boeing have proven that we’re able to fight each other very effectively. Today, as a result of your vote, we’re committing ourselves to working together. It’ll be a big shift that we both need to embrace.

But we must do this. Because it’s obvious that we as union members cannot prosper if the Boeing Co. isn’t successful, and we’ve seen quite clearly that Boeing’s success is tied directly to the skills and experience of Machinists Union members.

Thank you for your support, and congratulations on having secured the future of aerospace manufacturing in Washington state.

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