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Dan Catchpole | dcatchpole@heraldnet.com
Published: Friday, December 27, 2013, 3:10 p.m.

IAM president says Boeing's threat is real

With the Jan. 3 vote on the Boeing Co.'s latest contract proposal fast approaching, the head of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) sent letters Thursday to union members telling them that the company's threat to leave is real.

IAM President Tom Buffenbarger also said in his letter that the offer adds more than $1 billion value to a previous offer that union members rejected in a vote by a 2-to-1 margin.

In the letter, he takes a shot at the news media, saying there has been "much misinformation being passed on to the membership and the community. It is a shame the process of collective bargaining is reduced to tabloid sensationalism."

However, none of the main actors -- the union's international leaders, the union's district leaders and Boeing -- has consistently tried to get accurate information to journalists. District 751 has been the most forthright, but it has never disclosed the contract proposal it presented earlier this month to Boeing.

If the company does decide to build the 777X airplane outside Washington, it could begin Boeing's long-predicted exodus from the state, leading to higher borrowing costs, reports Bloomberg.

Cathay Pacific Airways, which has ordered 21 of the new jetliners, also ordered four planes that aren't the 777X -- three 777-300 extended range passenger jets and a 747-8 freighter. The order is worth about $1 billion at list price, according to a news release from Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Despite the orders, Boeing's future is based largely on the 777X and 787.

More than 20 states have been trying to convince the company they offer the best location for building the new plane. Even though proposals were due to the company earlier this month, Illinois and Iowa are considering making a joint bid, reports the St. Louis Business Journal.

States competing for the work have promised big financial incentives to the company in hopes of landing more than 7,000 good-paying jobs, but some economists say that strategy might not be the best way to develop a local economy, according to a report in the Washington Post.
Story tags » LaborAerospaceBoeingMachinists

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