LOS ANGELES For
the second time, Boeing Co. and its largest union have failed
to reach agreement on a new contract that would keep final
assembly of the latest version of its 777 airliner in the
Pacific Northwest, as the company also begins realignment of
its research and development unit that will result in jobs
shifting from the West Coast to the Southeast.
and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers (IAM) met this past week to try to resolve differences
over a contract extension that would keep final assembly of the
new 777X, as well as production of its new composite wing, in
the Puget Sound area.
offer, which would have ensured this great airplane for the
Puget Sound region, was immediately rejected by the union
leadership," Ray Conner, president and chief executive officer
of the companys Seattle-based Boeing Commercial Airplanes
unit, said in a statement.
"The price Boeing
demanded was too high," Tom Wroblewski, president of IAM
District 751, said in a statement. "Our senior leadership team
could not recommend Boeings counteroffer."
IAM members, unwilling
to accept major concessions to pensions and other benefits,
last month rejected an initial company proposal by a two-to-one
amm.com, Nov. 15). The unions offer this past
week was met with a counterproposal by Boeing, which was turned
down by the IAM, according to Boeing.
Failure of the latest
Boeing-IAM negotiations is widely expected to heighten the
already-stiff competition among several states for the 777X
final assembly and wing plants (
amm.com, Nov. 25).
Boeing also pointed
out that acceptance of its proposal would have extended an
earlier agreement with the IAM, committing final assembly of
the companys new version of the 737 airliner, the 737
MAX, to its existing final assembly site of Renton, Wash., from
2016 to 2024.
In another development
that will result in work shifting away from its traditional
West Coast production locations, the company is realigning its
Boeing Research & Technology unit in a move it estimates
will cut 1,000 to 1,500 jobs on the West Coast and add 900 to
1,200 jobs in other parts of the country.
Boeing said it is
establishing research centers in Huntsville, Ala., North
Charleston, S.C., southern California, St. Louis and Seattle.
The South Carolina site, which is also located close to its new
assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner, will specialize in
manufacturing technology while the Seattle center will focus on
manufacturing technology integration.
About 550 to 800
engineers and technicians represented by Boeings largest
white-collar union, the Society of Professional Engineering
Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), could be affected by the
reductions in the Puget Sound area over the next two years,
said a SPEEA spokesman in Tukwila, Wash.
"We are talking to the
company and monitoring the situation," the spokesman said.
"Well watch how this unfolds and address any concerns our
members have along the way, including how this movement of work
affects their wages and benefits."