Rejection of the 777X proposal prompts uncertainty

Grant Rayfield

With the rejection of the Boeing labor deal involving the 777X last Friday, the job security of many employees was called into question as Boeing claimed that it would have to take the 777X project elsewhere.  With this time of rising uncertainty in job security, how is this news likely to affect the Liberty community?

The labor deal that Boeing had suggested as part of a deal to guarantee the production of the high-demand 777X line in Washington state was part of an agreement between Washington and Boeing long in the making through the efforts of Governor Jay Inslee in tax breaks for Boeing in exchange for guaranteed Seattle-area manufacturing.  In this latest culmination of the negotiations, Boeing proposed to keep manufacturing local in exchange for a change of future employee pensions to 401K plans, a form of less binding, time based retirement fund in addition to an agreement of 1% annual pay raises.

While Inslee and Boeing executives claim that this may have been a big mistake that may cause Seattle area to lose business, proponents of the rejection of the deal from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers argue that Boeing’s demands were too outrageous to be accepted, as the change to the retirement plan might cause less security in retirement for future employees.

“Even though jobs seem safe in Washington State, numerous employees in the computer software engineering field are feeling pressure as funding is being cut and coworkers are losing jobs,” senior Katherine Kerstetter said.  The software engineering field isn’t the only section of Boeing’s local employees at risk as a result of the rejection of the 777X deal; other areas of Boeing are equally if not more at risk for loss of jobs or at least the loss of work opportunities that the 777X could theoretically bring if it were built in this state.

“My dad is concerned that Seattle will lose one of its major industries because of [the rejection of the 777X deal],” junior Christine Chappell said.  This is one of the primary concerns also voiced by Governor Inslee and the 33% of the Boeing employees, who voted to pass the deal, which would’ve given them more job security due to the monopoly that the Seattle-area Boeing manufacturing plants would gain on the high-valued 777X line of Boeing airliners.