In 1960, I was a struggling machinist apprentice in Seattle. Struggling because I had a wife and two children, and apprentice wages started at half of journeyman wages.
Our local union negotiated with the Boeing machinists, and we were on strike that year for five months, mostly in an effort to have a pension plan included in our contract. We finally settled for employers paying 5 cents per hour (in lieu of wages) into the plan, 10 cents the second year and 15 the third (we wanted a two-year contract). This did not seem like a lot, but it was the beginning of a pension plan.
Now, thanks to the strong-arm methods of Boeing and pressure from politicians and the media, the machinists were forced to give up what we worked for, plus accept an eight -year contract. Who knows what will happen in eight years?
Most machinists have to furnish hundreds, even thousands of dollars worth of tools and tool chests, yet the average machinist makes less than a UPS delivery driver, with about the same fringe benefits. Ask yourself, "Do I want to fly 500 miles per hour at 30,000 feet in a plane built by unskilled, minimum-wage workers?"