Machinists await Boeing response on contract

Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing is expected to respond Thursday to a Machinists union proposal that would keep much of the 777X work in the Puget Sound.

The Machinists have put forward a preliminary contract proposal and said they anticipate Boeing responding to the offer Thursday. A Boeing spokesman said the company would not have any comment in advance of a meeting later in the day.

David Postman, a spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee, said the governor remains in fairly constant contact with both sides and is glad they are talking again. He declined to speculate on the likelihood the parties would reach a deal.

A month ago, the Machinists union rejected a proposed eight-year contract for the 777X work as members expressed concern about the breadth of the concessions. The Machinists did not release details of their new contract proposal.

"We tried to craft a proposal that would meet the needs of our members, while also ensuring the long-term success of the Boeing Co. in Washington state," Tom Wroblewski, president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751, said in a statement Thursday.

After the Machinists rejected last month's contract proposal, Boeing immediately began soliciting bids from more than a dozen locations around the country. Lawmakers in Missouri held a special session to approve incentives in hopes of landing the 777X work.

In its own bid to win the 777X jobs, Washington state recently approved tax breaks for Boeing valued at $9 billion over the coming years, along with legislation to improve aerospace training programs and the permitting process.

The renewed talks between the Machinists and Boeing began this week, just as locations faced a deadline to submit proposals to the company to win the 777X work.

Boeing began offering the 777X in May, but it's still finalizing plans for the plane and aiming to deliver the first aircraft by the end of the decade. Boeing has said it is expected to carry as many as 400 passengers and be more fuel efficient than the current 777.

The 777X is already drawing plenty of interest from carriers. At the Dubai Airshow last month, Boeing received orders for 225 such planes from three airlines.

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