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Machinists Union: The Grinch that stole their members’ jobs? | Editorial

What will Santa deliver to the Machinists union this year? - Frank Shiers
What will Santa deliver to the Machinists union this year?
— image credit: Frank Shiers

Local labor leaders want Gov. Jay Inslee to apologize. He actually had the nerve to say that members of the local Machinists union should be allowed to vote on a contract that could determine their future employment at Boeing.

We’d like to think the Washington State Labor Council is kidding, but sadly it’s not.

Boeing had offered to extend its contract with the Machinists for eight years, essentially guaranteeing that significant work on the new 777X airliner would be done here. However, to do so, it wanted reductions in some benefits it pays workers. When the union turned that down, the company sought proposals from other states and communities that might want the thousands of high-paid jobs that go along with aircraft work.

Boeing now has modified its contract offer to local machinists, backing away from some of the take-backs, but not all of them. Union officials won’t let the workers vote on the new contract, saying Boeing withdrew the offer. The company says it hasn’t.

The governor stepped into this mess with a most reasonable idea: let the workers decide for themselves. U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, agrees with the governor. The 777X would be built in that city.

In a show of solidarity, union officials boycotted a reception at the governor’s mansion Monday night. What next, a ban on sending Christmas cards to the governor and his wife?

We don’t pretend to know what’s best for the machinists regarding any Boeing proposal. What we do know is that the people directly affected by having a job — or not — should be the ones to decide the issue.

If Santa is paying attention, the union officials deserve a hunk of coal in their Christmas stocking.

– Craig Groshart, Bellevue Reporter

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