Rank and file angry
The comments from some of the 31,000 machinists who voted down a new labor contract make it clear they are angry with the offer from Boeing. One major factor they are upset about is a proposed change to their pension plan from a defined-benefit program guaranteeing a certain amount every month in retirement to a defined-contribution plan which would work more like a 401(k).
"I could not see my brothers and sisters taking this and the way it was presented to us as extortion and accepting it," said one machinist after she voted. Another echoed that sentiment said, "I voted no because I feel like the new hires need a better chance to make it."
Beyond the pension change, many in the union voiced their displeasure at the contract calling for members to pay for more of their health-care expenses and annual pay increases of just 1 percent per year from 2016 through 2024.
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But what really irks the rank and file is Boeing threatening to move 777X production outside of the Seattle area. The skilled workforce in Seattle believes Boeing would be making a huge mistake building the 777X somewhere else.
"If they choose to take the 777X down the same path they took the 787 and commit corporate suicide, it is their business not ours." said a union member after voting.
Investors push Boeing to a record high
For investors, Boeing is in a virtual win-win situation. It's the reason they pushed shares of the Dow component to an all-time high just hours after the machinists shot down the contract offer. What's Boeing stock doing now? (Click here to get the latest quote.)
If the machinists and Boeing can return to the table and reach an agreement that gives Boeing a reduction in labor costs, there will be labor peace. That reassures Boeing shareholders who want the certainty of knowing the costs Boeing will face in the future.
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If the machinists and Boeing can't reach a deal, the company will get very lucrative offers to build the 777X somewhere else. The tax incentive package the state of Washington approved for Boeing to build the 777X in the Puget Sound was a whopper of a deal.
Lawmakers in Washington passed it because the new plane guarantees relatively high-paying manufacturing jobs. Other cities and states will want those jobs and will match or exceed the tax incentives offered to Boeing in Washington.
More importantly, if Boeing sets up 777X manufacturing in a right-to-work state where it doesn't have to deal with unions, investors will be thrilled.
None of this will happen overnight, nor will it be a smooth process
But from the viewpoint of investors, Boeing will likely get what it wants either in Seattle or elsewhere.
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