Machinists’ Union Boss Knows Best: National Union Overrides Local On Contract Vote


Tom Buffenbarger

More than a month ago, national union bosses at the International Association of Machinists negotiated a secret deal with Boeing behind the local union membership’s back.

In response to having a concessionary contract being rammed down their throats, Machinists’ union members overwhelmingly rejected the offer.

Then, with 20,000 jobs at stake, local union leaders in Puget Sound met with Boeing tried to see what could be salvaged before deciding Boeing’s counter-offer was still too concessionary to take to a membership vote.

This, in turn, outraged local members who felt they should be allowed to vote again–including some who rallied at the union hall demanding the membership be allowed to vote.

Over the weekend, national union bosses–at the behest of IAM boss Tom Buffenbarger–have ordered the local union to schedule a membership vote on Boeing’s “last and final” counter offer.

According to the Local’s website, citing the problems with organizing the vote through the holidays, the leaders in Puget Sound are none-too-pleased with the national union bosses’ decision to override their decision.

Despite objections from District 751 leadership, the International has insisted on a vote on January 3rd to ensure you spend your holidays studying and debating a concessionary proposal that is largely unchanged from the one you rejected by a 2-to-1 margin on Nov. 13.

Because of the massive takeaways, the Union is adamantly recommending members reject this offer (more information to come). Members need to look at the facts of the economic destruction they would live under for the next 11 years — without any opportunity to change those economic proposals or any other provision of the contract. And all of this comes as Boeing is experiencing record profits and backlogs, not to mention the $10 billion stock buy back the Boeing Board approved just this last week.

International President R. Thomas Buffenbarger ordered the vote over objections of 751’s elected officials, and Rich Michalski announced the Jan. 3rd vote to the Seattle Times on Saturday, Dec. 21.

While it is unknown how the local members will vote on January 3rd, one thing seems certain:

Local union leaders seem to have been undermined twice now by their national union bosses.

This division indicates that there may be something more afoot than the contract with Boeing.


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