This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
No union likes having its back against the wall, but that seems to be where the Machinists union stands right now on the question of keeping 787 Dreamliner production in Washington.
Boeing has been ostentatiously talking to South Carolina about building a second 787 factory line in Charleston – in a nonunion plant – instead of Everett, where the plane is now being assembled. South Carolina lawmakers are offering the aerospace company a sweet package of incentives. Boeing’s Chicago-based corporate leaders are within days of deciding between Everett and Charleston.
Meanwhile, company and union leaders have been quietly discussing Boeing’s central condition for sticking with Everett: a no-strike guarantee good for 10 years. The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that those talks aren’t making much progress.
Boeing is reportedly pushing for what in most cases would seem a reasonable alternative: binding arbitration.
Like any union, though, the Machinists are loath to give up their nuclear weapon. They’ve reportedly also thrown another – far bigger – issue into the mix, pushing for a promise that the successors to the 737 and 777 will also be built in this state.
The union appears to be putting more chips on the table than its cards warrant. Keeping 787 production here seems a large enough goal without throwing the 737 and 777 replacements into the deal.
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