Boeing considers sites around U.S. for 777X

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News Aviation Specialist

KREM.com

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 8:20 PM

SEATTLE -- A day after the machinists union rejected Boeing's contract extension offer, the aerospace giant said it will not re-negotiate with the union until 2016, when their current contract is set to expire. Meanwhile, Boeing has started the groundwork to possibly build the 777X elsewhere.

The company's position follows an eight year long contract extension that machinists rejected by a margin of two to one in a vote Wednesday.

Boeing said the contract extension was market leading when compared to other industries. But an extension would have required concessions on medical contributions and a move to a 401K-type retirement plan instead of the current traditional pension plan moving forward from the middle of the decade.

In a statement released last night, Machinists District 751 President Tom Wroblewski only specifically cited the changes in the pensions as the key reason for the vote's failure.

Had the vote been yes, Boeing said it was prepared to assemble the new 777X along with its large carbon fiber composite wing in Puget Sound and preserve jobs.

Boeing already has boots on the ground in other states, evaluating offers in terms of incentives, work force and proximity to transportation.

In addition to South Carolina, Boeing is also considering San Antonio, Texas; Ogden, Utah; and Long Beach, Calif.

San Antonio is a list topper. At the site of a former Air Force base, the city is home to a large Boeing facility that specializes in military planes but also works on airliners.

Just north of Salt Lake City, Ogden, is the site of Hill Air Force Base, which could share runways as the Air Force does in Charleston. The metro area is considered high tech and has a large work force.

And in Long Beach the C-17 assembly line is set to close down in 2015. It's the closest thing to what Boeing has in Puget Sound, but Boeing won't be able to hide from unions there. The United Auto Workers represents workers at the former McDonnell Douglas site that's built planes for generations in a state with high costs.

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