IAM Updates Machinists On Boeing Strike

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

The issues of outsourcing and vendors are holding up negotiations between the IAM and Boeing, the machinists said.

Contract talks broke down Monday. Union negotiators updated striking machinists on their website. The statement said,"...as talks continued it became apparent that the long-term strategy of the Boeing Company is to eliminate the 2,000 IAM positions connected with material delivery and inventory and to replace Union workers with outside suppliers."
The statement adds, "the words "flexibility" and "competitiveness" for Boeing appear to mean eliminating IAM jobs."

The walkout by Boeing machinists is in its 6th week.

Earlier this week, Boeing's Chief negotiator said, "We want to resolve this strike so employees can return to work, but we cannot sacrifice our ability to continously improve productivity and our long-term competitiveness for an agreement."

  • Entire IAM statement on negotiations.

    Although we got closer in our talks with the Boeing Company, we didn't quite get to where we needed to be. Both parties have a better understanding of the issues surrounding job security, but we need to stand vigilant in our efforts to secure the future for our next generation of workers.

    Members are asking for additional details on the two days of talks with Boeing and the federal mediators. We were close on a couple things on Sunday and thought Boeing understood our issues. However, as talks continued it became apparent that the long-term strategy of The Boeing Company is to eliminate the 2,000 IAM positions connected with material delivery and inventory and to replace Union workers with outside suppliers. The words "flexibility" and "competitiveness" for Boeing appear to mean eliminating IAM jobs.

    The Union wanted to continue talks. Boeing kept repackaging the same language and passing it across the table. When we continued to press them on their intent, Boeing finally admitted their goal was to replace those IAM jobs by bringing outside suppliers into the Boeing factory. This is not about outsourcing but allowing employees from another company inside the gates to perform work we have traditionally done.

    Why is it important to not allow vendors into the factory? Once we give up jurisdiction on a package of work and allow the vendor inside the factory to perform that work, then we no longer have rights to perform this work, cannot bargain to reclaim the work and cannot make it a strike issue. This is why we cannot go after the work New Breed is currently performing on the 787 line. That is why it is so important to fix the language in LOU #37 and stop Boeing from expanding the scope of work vendors perform inside the factory.

    This is not just about these 2,000 or so jobs. If Boeing replaces these jobs inside the factory, the chances are even greater that they will chip away until they have replaced all our jobs with vendors. Vendors will want to install the interiors they deliver. The landing gear suppliers will want to do their own installation. Vendors will want to hang the engines. Where would it stop? We have had facilities subcontractors inside the Boeing gates for their entire career. This is wrong, and the time to stop vendors from expanding their scope inside the Boeing gates is now. This is not just about parts handlers, but all our jobs. It is union busting - plain and simple.

    At the table recently, the Union did make movement in hopes of resolving the strike:
    * We were willing to let suppliers come into the factories and deliver their parts to local receiving areas (LRA) beside the assembly lines. From there, IAM members would control the parts. However, Boeing insisted they needed open ended language so they could eliminate these IAM jobs.
    * We asked Boeing repeatedly to partner with us to look for innovations and better ways to perform the work. We offered to set up a committee to review the work and explore alternatives - Boeing was not interested.

    In the talks this past weekend, Boeing insisted they needed to be flexible to run the business. However, Boeing didn't talk at all about innovations or technology changes. This is something Doug Kight waited to talk to the media about rather than talking to us.

    The Union stressed throughout the talks that our members have been involved in all the lean practices the Company has brought forth and will continue to be contributors to make this Company profitable. Boeing just wants to give suppliers the ability to grow with the work and technology changes, but would not provide the same opportunity to our members.

    They just talked about eliminating our jobs in the future and having employees from other companies inside Boeing gates doing the work we have done.

    The Union tried to limit this material delivery work to the 787 line. The Union also tried limiting the scope to vendors internal and external only for their parts and inventory transaction.

    Boeing offered no MPRF will be laid-off or removed or downgraded from job classification during life of agreement due to material management process. However, this is no better or more secure than the current language that says no one will be laid-off as a direct result of the conversion to the material management process. Boeing simply transfers our members to another area and lays them off from there. The Company admitted they could do that "shuffle" to get rid of our members with their proposed language.

    In return for this language, Boeing wanted to be given the ability to ramp up and expand replacing these positions over the next three years. This would give them "jurisdictional rights" to work our members currently do in the factory. Again, Boeing's plan is to replace us inside the factory gates. This is not only unacceptable, but insulting. Based on Boeing's response on LOU #37, we realized they had a bigger plan they were not sharing that would reduce IAM jobs, so we suggested to revisiting LOU #2 and Article 21.7.

    Also keep in mind the 787 is seriously behind schedule due to mismanagement and a flawed strategy of outsourcing to subcontractors around the world who could not deliver on time, with properly manufactured and engineered parts -- something current Boeing employees, our members, have always delivered. This loss of control of the final product caused the delays and is a "direct result" of management decisions -- not the IAM workforce. This recent attempt during negotiations by management to rely on suppliers to replace IAM workers in the internal supply system will not only hurt Boeing employees and their families, but will cause additional delays, harming our ability to compete and build aircraft in an efficient manner. The airplane customers want a product that is built safe, on time, and by the best workers. Our members not only understand the current material supply system, they have continuously improved it and will continue to do so. This Union is determined to improve processes, increase efficiencies, while keeping our factories competitive, and we urge the Company to embrace this partnership with the Boeing workforce, rather than look for opportunities to destroy it. Our customers and workforce expect and deserve more than this behavior from Boeing.

    The Union understands Boeing has to give work to other countries as a condition of selling airplanes. But at what cost? Sending too much technology outside of Boeing is destined to create your next competitor.

    All of the other economic issues you identified remain just as important. Boeing will try to use the current financial market conditions to weaken your resolve. The fact is their $13+ billion dollar profits are still there, the backlog is substantial, and they have even made comments they can fund their own airplane sales.

    This fight is not just for the benefit of the union workers of the Boeing Company. It is a fight for the middle class and maintaining this middle class for years to come.

    Leverage doesn't happen often, but It's Our Time This Time to share in the Boeing profits we have generated and ensure the Company remains successful for years to come. Stand strong and together we will win this fight!

    In Solidarity,
    Your Union Leadership

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