By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Friday night, Boeing union machinists in Washington State voted 51 to 49 to agree to give up future pension benefits and accept a 401k plan. The move means that the new version of Boeing’s popular 777x jetliner will be built at the existing factory in Washington. Boeing officials had threatened to build a factory someplace else if the union workers did not agree to the concession. Alabama was among over two dozen states bidding on the new plant which would have brought 8,500 high paying new jobs to the Huntsville area.
Representative Mac McCutcheon (R) from Capshaw wrote,
“Although we did not get the Boeing contract I was very proud of the way the proposal was put together. Gov. Bentley and Greg Canfield put together a State package that was supportive of the local leadership. The local elected officials Mayor Battle, Mayor Trulock , Chairman Strong, Chairman Menefee, Madson and Limestone County Legislators and other officials and agencies worked together. This effort is a example of how government should work. The talk in the hallways was positive and everyone represented this community in a way that was second to none! I want to say thank you as a co-worker and resident of this great State and community.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said, “The State of Alabama values the 53 year history that we share with The Boeing Company which continues to create well-paying jobs in the state of Alabama. We look forward to continuing our close relationship with this outstanding company.”
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said in his own written statement, “Huntsville greatly appreciates having been invited to participate in the selection process for Boeing’s production of the new 777X, and for the opportunity to have conversations with company executives about the talent and ability in our city. The process has given us the opportunity to highlight what we do best – provide superior engineering, technology and manufacturing capabilities within a favorable economic environment.”
Battles said, “Boeing is a significant community partner with a 50-year record of successful operations in Huntsville. Its design center here worked on the 787 and will continue to play an important role in the 777X. Last month, Boeing selected Huntsville for a new $6 million research center that will add 400 jobs and infuse another $40 million into our annual economy. These announcements reflect Boeing’s confidence in the research and development capabilities that have earned Huntsville global recognition. We look forward to even more investment opportunities and an exciting future with Boeing.”
The narrow vote by the International Association of Machinists to accept the company’s offer means that the company will keep the work in the Seattle area and won’t be building a new $10 billion 777X plant in Huntsville or anywhere else.