Protesting Gov. Union-buster

February 10, 2014

Steve Leigh reports on a picket called by rank-and-file members at Boeing to protest Washington's governor and the role he played in pushing a concessions contract.

BOEING MACHINISTS picketed the Lynnwood Convention Center on February 5 where an aerospace industry meeting was addressed by various politicians, including Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

The members of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 751 made Inslee, a Democrat, the special target for his role in orchestrating a recent attack on Boeing workers.

The legislature granted Boeing $8.7 billion in tax breaks in return for claiming that they will retain the production of the 777X in Washington state. Boeing threatened to move production out of state unless the IAM agreed to an extended concessionary contract.

Politicians from local mayors to the governor and the IAM national leaders campaigned hard to push through a "yes" vote on the contract. It finally passed by a slim margin after a second vote was called at a time when many workers couldn't participate.

"Rosie's Machinists 751," a new caucus in District 751 formed out of the effort to defeat the concessionary contract, organized the picket. The caucus explained the purpose of the picket:

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

Unionism is under attack! It is time for ALL unions to stand united and fight government and corporate greed. Rosie's Machinists 751 is asking you to join us to and show your support! Let's send a message to our local and state officials that we will not tolerate them interfering during contract negotiations.

The new caucus will continue organizing to expose and oppose the recent attack on the machinists at Boeing. As Shannon Ryker, a founder of the caucus, put it: "We want to support 751 members in unionism. We want to create a community of support, so when they try things like this again we'll be ready--to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Besides picketing the center, the workers got support from drivers passing by, as District 751 members chanted, "What's disgusting? Union-busting!"

Members of other unions and community groups, including a rank-and-file caucus in Amalgamated Transit Union, came out to support the demonstration and promised to be back for future actions.

Boeing won a round with the help of politicians and national union officials, but the workers are challenging the vote and vowing to keep up the fight against the concessionary contract.

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