ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)--On Friday, the Boeing Machinists union narrowly accepted a new contract that will keep production of Boeing’s new 777X jet in Washington state. The aerospace company had looked into building it's new production plant elsewhere leading states and cities, including St. Louis, to send proposals.
The International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751, which represents more than 31,000 Boeing workers in Washington state, voted to accept the eight year contract extension offer in a tight vote, with just 51 percent approving it.
Under the terms of the deal, the 777X and its composite wing will be built in the Puget Sound area by Boeing employees represented by the IAM. Missouri and St. Louis County have pledged nearly $3 billion in tax incentives to try to get Boeing to relocate the plant to North County.
In a statement released late Friday, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said, "Thanks to this vote by our employees, the future of Boeing in the Puget Sound region has never looked brighter. We're proud to say that together, we'll build the world's next great airplane—the 777X and its new wing – right here. This will put our workforce on the cutting edge of composite technology, while sustaining thousands of local jobs for years to come."
Gov. Jay Nixon issued the following statement regarding Missouri’s efforts to compete for the Boeing 777X:
“I want to thank the members of the General Assembly, our community colleges, and our local partners in business, labor and government for putting together a nationally-recognized proposal that made Missouri one of the finalists for production of the Boeing 777X. These efforts have demonstrated once again that with an outstanding business climate, strong schools and a highly-skilled workforce, Missouri is ready to compete in the 21st century global economy. Boeing’s recent decision to bring more than 700 research and technology jobs to St. Louis is proof positive that Missouri is a top destination for high-tech jobs and investment. I look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with this global aerospace leader and building on this solid foundation of growth.”
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We should know later tonight whether St. Louis is still in the running for a new Boeing manufacturing plant.
Friday's vote is fracturing a strong union in Seattle, pitting the local versus the international with outcome potentially impacting billions of dollars in economic growth for St. Louis.
Thirty-thousand Boeing machinists are casting ballots right now, voting continues this evening.
At issue, whether to accept Boeing's final contract offer.
A yes vote would likely keep production of the new 777X in the Seattle area.
A no vote would reject Boeing's offer and likely move the plant out of Washington.
If Boeing decides to relocate, Missouri and St. Louis County have pledged nearly $3 billion in tax incentives to relocate the plant to North County.
More than 20 other states are also trying to lure the commercial jet business out of Seattle.
But Washington State has upped the ante considerably pledging $9 billion in tax breaks to Boeing.
But that probably won't matter if the union doesn't accept Boeing's pay and retirement concessions in the latest contract offer.
The voting should wrap up by 8 p.m. St. Louis time.
We'll monitor and bring you the results on Fox 2 news after tonight's Mizzou Cotton Bowl game.