The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Boeing Machinists Pushed to Give Concessions

Jan 20, 2014

In a bitter and narrow vote, workers in the Machinists union at Boeing’s main production facilities in Washington State’s Puget Sound region agreed to an eight-year contract extension.

It was, as they say, an offer that the Boeing workers couldn’t refuse. In return for giving up their traditional pension plan, Boeing promised the workers that it wouldn’t move production of its new airplane, the 777X, somewhere else, as it had been threatening to do.

So, workers were supposed to choose between either losing their pensions or losing their jobs. But in reality, the new agreement takes away both.

Certainly, Boeing provided the workers no job guarantees. On the contrary, the agreement gives Boeing the green light to outsource what it wants. The agreement says: “Boeing may contract or outsource certain 777X wing fabrication and assembly work packages in whole or part.” And no doubt, Boeing will use the threat of outsourcing to force Boeing workers to agree to big productivity increases and speed-up, thus eliminating lots of jobs.

Not only that, everyone expects Boeing to come back with demands for new concessions when it announces plans to build new versions of its airplanes, the 737 and 757. Boeing will pull the same kind of extortion racket as it just did, again ... and again.

If the history of the last 40 years of workers’ retreat proves anything, it is that by agreeing to concessions, you don’t save jobs. No, you lose still more jobs.

The only way workers can stop this massacre is for our fights to spread and to grow.