SEATTLE — Following an initial meeting Tuesday, Boeing began serious negotiations with the Machinists union Wednesday, seeking a labor deal that would secure the building of the 777X jet for Everett.
A person with knowledge of what’s going on said things are moving fast and that if the talks are successful, a new vote on a contract extension could be held before Christmas.
The two sides — senior executives including commercial airplane chief Ray Conner for Boeing and both local business reps and national officials for the union — are meeting at the Longacres headquarters of the Commercial Airplanes division to discuss how the original offer that was rejected Nov. 13 might be modified to make it acceptable.
In a note to International Association of Machinists members Wednesday, district 751 president Tom Wroblewski said, “The goal of today’s meeting is to see what the two sides can do to secure Puget Sound as the site for 777X fabrication and final assembly.
“Our membership wants to build this airplane and we believe Boeing wants to do it here,” Wroblewski said.
The last negotiations were held in secret, but the terms of the offer that emerged —which included freezing pensions and a dramatically slower wage progression for new hires — were soundly rejected by the membership.
This time, the union seems to want to be more open with its membership.
Wroblewski said union members would be updated after Wednesday’s meeting.
Boeing spokesman Doug Alder declined to provide any details on the negotiations.
“As we’ve said from the beginning of the 777X site selection process, we continue to look at all of our options,” Alder said. “As we start evaluating the proposals, we’ll engage with all interested parties.”
Tuesday was the deadline for states around the country to submit their bids for the 777X work.
However, if a deal with the Machinists is concluded, it would abruptly end the site search competition and secure all the 777X work for Washington state.