Lawmakers Debate if Mo. Business Climate Suits Boeing

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SEATTLE (AP) - Machinists union leaders say the price of Boeing's counterproposal "was too high" in negotiations to keep much of the work on a new 777X jet in the Puget Sound region.

The president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751, Tom Wroblewski says the counteroffer was "mostly unchanged" from a proposal union members rejected last month by a 2-to-1 margin.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said the revised company proposal presented Thursday included previously proposed "changes to the way members earn future retirement benefits," meaning a defined-contribution plan. Boeing withdrew an earlier proposal to dramatically slow wage growth for new hires.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says despite the setback, he remains convinced an agreement between Boeing and the Machinists is in everyone's best interest. He says he'll continue to talk to both sides.

A Boeing spokesman says the company has presented a "best and final counterproposal" to the Machinists union but union leaders rejected the offer to keep much of the work on Boeing's new 777X jet in the Puget Sound region.

A union spokesman did not immediately return calls for comment.

Last month, the Machinists rejected a proposed eight-year contract for the 777X work, in part because it would have replaced workers' traditional pension with a defined-contribution savings plan.

The union and the company have held three days of talks over the issue.

The proposal would have kept in place the current rate at which employees accelerate to the top of the pay scale.

Boeing says it has received proposals from 22 states seeking the 777X jobs.

 

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