Boeing's Lockout Response

Boeing has locked out its 125 industrial firefighters from its Seattle-area aircraft manufacturing plants after contract negotiations stalled. The lockout will remain in place until the union accepts the company's final wage offer. Boeing's move comes in response to union demands for significantly higher wage increases, which the company has refused to meet.

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Boeing's Reasoning

Boeing claims the lockout is a preventive measure, anticipating a potential strike once the current contract expires. To ensure safety during the lockout, Boeing has arranged for local fire departments to handle emergencies, assuring that plant operations will not be disrupted.

The Union's Stance

The union, represented by Local I-66 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, contends that Boeing's proposed 18% to 20% wage increase still leaves their members earning 20% to 30% less than city firefighters in the same areas. The union seeks raises of 40% to 50% to close the wage gap. A significant issue is Boeing's suggestion to extend the time required to reach top pay from 14 years to 19 years, while the union proposes a five-year timeline.

Escalation in Negotiations

Boeing has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the union of bargaining in bad faith. The company argues that its final offer is generous, highlighting additional overtime pay that would boost firefighters' average annual income by $21,000.

Path Forward

The ongoing dispute will likely put strain and pressure on local emergency rescue workers. As state emergency response was never intended to be the primary response to within the Boeng factory.

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