Washington Close to Landing Boeing 777X, Governor Says

 - November 5, 2013, 7:23 PM

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said Boeing will assemble the new 777X widebody and build its carbon fiber composite wing in the Puget Sound region of his state, an economic windfall that depends on Boeing’s machinists’ union ratifying a new contract and the state Legislature approving an incentives package.

In a press conference held Tuesday afternoon Seattle-time, Inslee (D) said “big, bold decisions” must be made in a short period of time to land the coveted 777X work. He called for the Legislature to meet in special session Thursday to vote on a package of legislation that would include extending tax incentives awarded for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the 777X program through 2040. The package would also streamline the permitting process for large manufacturers and contain statewide transportation and education investments.

Boeing and leadership of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) have agreed on a new eight-year contract that would expire in September 2024. IAM members will vote on the contract next week. Boeing’s proposal includes the “cessation of pension accruals for current employees and the establishment of an alternative company-funded retirement plan,” the union said. All members would be paid a $10,000 signing bonus within 30 days of contract ratification.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Raymond Conner and IAM leaders attended Inslee’s press conference.

According to the union, estimates show that landing the 777X would produce as many as 10,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs in the region, and serve as a foundation for electronics, avionics and composites development. “Now we have a commitment on this project and these jobs are ours if we act now,” Inslee said.