Agreement between Boeing and union workers is good for Washington

Boeing is a huge employer with an economic impact so great it is felt across the state.


The people of Washington state -- on both sides of the Cascades -- were big winners last week when The Boeing Co. reached an agreement with the machinists' union.

The deal keeps jobs in Washington state and assures Boeing workers will be building the company's high-demand airplanes.

The recent labor history at Boeing's plants in Washington has been troubling. Three of the last four labor negotiations have included bitter strikes that shut down production and cost both sides more than they would recoup.

The most recent strike pushed Boeing to establish an assembly plant in South Carolina, sending the clear message that Boeing can -- and will -- move its manufacturing operation elsewhere if this pattern of strikes continues.

The deal between Boeing and the machinists' union, the company's largest, hinged on a promise to keep the work on Boeing's modernized 737 in the Puget Sound region. The union agreed to drop a federal complaint over the nonunion plant in South Carolina and not strike for five years.

It was described by both sides as a win-win with Boeing getting labor peace and the union getting guaranteed jobs, according to The Associated Press.

"It's hopefully the start of a new day of doing business when it comes to negotiating contracts with The Boeing Co.," said Tom Wroblewski, president of Machinists Union District 751.

Yes, let's hope so. Boeing offers higher paying jobs and it uses a huge number of suppliers that also pay well. The footprints of Boeing can't be missed in the Seattle area -- from Renton to Everett. It employs about 70,000 people in well-paying jobs. The suppliers to Boeing's airplane assembly plants provide thousands of jobs, also well-paying. And when those employees spend that money it keeps restaurants, car dealers, grocery stores and other stores in business.

While the economic impact, while felt strongest in the Puget Sound area, does cross the Cascades. Boeing money flows around the state. State government, too, counts on Boeing revenue to keep it running. The deal reached last week, which is expected to be ratified on Wednesday, is good news for the economy of the state.


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