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Wichita Machinists to join in Boeing contract vote

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, at 6:05 p.m.

A small group of Boeing Wichita Machinists will vote Jan. 3 along with union members in the Pacific Northwest on Boeing’s revised contract proposal, which is a linchpin in the proposal to locate 777X work in the Washington region.

Voting will take place from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. in Wichita at the Machinists District 70 site, 3830 S. Meridian.

Machinists District 70 president Frank Molina is trying to get word out about the vote.

With the holiday, some represented employees may not be at work and may not know about it, Molina said.

The Machinists union represents fewer than 200 hourly workers at Boeing’s Wichita facility. That’s a small figure compared with the 31,000 the Machinists represent in IAM District 751 in Washington.

Wichita is under the same master contract.

Molina said he is not making a recommendation on how to vote on the contract.

“There’s not a lot of benefit for my folks here in Wichita,” Molina said.

Boeing is in the midst of closing the Wichita site and moving work to Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the Puget Sound area.

Represented employees who end up transferring to Puget Sound will receive Boeing’s offer of a large signing bonus if the contract is approved, Molina said.

Machinists international president Tom Buffenbarger told union members in Puget Sound this week that the vote is their final opportunity to assure the work for Washington, according to the Seattle Times.

Boeing has said it will build the planned 777X in its factories in Puget Sound if the contract is approved. Otherwise, it will consider other sites.

Kansas is among several states that has pitched incentives to get the Boeing plant. The company has not said which states are still being considered.

Union members in the Pacific Northwest and Wichita soundly rejected a Boeing proposal of a contract on Nov. 13.

The latest Boeing offer would still move workers away from a traditional pension plan, according to reports. However, it backs away from a proposal that would have slowed the rate at which employees rise up the pay scale.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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