Boeing: Washington state still in mix for 777X jet despite collapsed talks with union
Talks between the Machinists union and Boeing collapsed last week, but a Boeing spokesman on Monday said Washington state is still one of the sites being considered for production of the company's forthcoming 777X passenger jet.
"All locations in the process are still under consideration," Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said.
His statement came even though he said, "There are no talks scheduled with the union here."
Without a deal with the International Association of Machinists on a new labor contract, Boeing said it would look outside the Pacific Northwest to build the new airplane and is considering proposals from 54 sites in 22 states, including South Carolina.
Alder would not speculate on how long Boeing will give the International Association of Machinists to come to terms on the aerospace giant's "best and final counterproposal" before the company gives up on the union.
"We are still in the evaluation process (of the bids)," he said.
Alder declined to talk about the winnowing process of the bids or if there will be a list of announced finalists.
"We aren't sharing any details about how things will progress between now and our final decision," he said. "I don't expect to have any details until after the new year."
Boeing resumed talks with the Machinists union on an amended contract on the same day last week bids were due from states vying for the 8,500 jobs and economic boon the 777X will produce.
Union leaders rejected the offer, which included new incentives, saying they couldn't live with the loss of the pension in return for a 401(k)-style savings plan.
Boeing walked away, and the union has not set a vote of its membership to decide on the latest contract offer. Some union members plan to march Wednesday to force the contract to a vote.
In November, Washington state lawmakers passed $8.7 billion in tax breaks for Boeing for 16 years after 2024, extending and adding to current incentives for other plane production to lure construction of the 777X to the Evergreen State.
Shortly afterward, the union rejected a new eight-year labor agreement starting in 2016, and Boeing made good on its pledge to seek bids from other states hoping to land the job-producing airplane deal.
Boeing hopes to start construction on the facility by November 2014 with airplane production by 2016 and delivery to customers in 2020.
Meanwhile, Boeing announced Friday it is staking a bigger claim on the Lowcountry by nearly tripling its footprint with the lease of 468 additional acres beside its 264-acre current site at Charleston International Airport.
The Chicago-based company has not announced its intentions for the new land except for a new paint facility for the 787 Dreamliner, which is produced in North Charleston.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.