Workers in Washington State were cheering this morning’s announcement by Boeing and District 751 of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) that the company will build the 737 MAX–the next generation of Boeing’s best-selling jet–in Renton, Wash.
The sweeping new four-year tentative agreement came after six weeks of secret negotiations, according to reports in The Stand.org and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and is an endorsement for employer benefits, such as high-quality production, stemming from the collective bargaining process. Workers will vote on ratification next week.
The pact includes a signing bonus and a yearly general wage hike of some 2 percent, and came 10 months early as IAM negotiators pressed to retain the Washington State jobs and Boeing sought labor peace, according to the P-I report.
In the background is Boeing’s decision to in 2009 to choose South Carolina as the site of a second 787 assembly plant. The National Labor relations Board issued a complaint against the company last April, charging Boeing with retaliation against the workers for exercising their right to strike over the move.
Congressional Republicans have since mounted a full-scale attack on the NLRB, threatening to cut funding, block nominations and impose laws curtailing its authority.
It’s not clear yet whether the new agreement may settle the pending NLRB case.