Friday, September 02, 2005

Boeing Machinists on Strike

Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union who work for the Boeing Company have voted 86 percent in favor of going out on strike.The strike will affect about 18,400 machinists who assemble Boeing's commercial airplanes and some key components in the Seattle area, Wichita, Kansas, and Gresham, Oregon.The machinists are the workers who assemble Boeing's commercial jetliners. The 86 percent vote was well in excess of the two-thirds margin needed to create a strike.


I'm using this from a Seattle TV station because it was the first news report I found.

A couple of quick comments.

The IAM (Machinists) has a constitutional requirement that strikes have to get a 2/3 vote. This one got 86 percent. The super majority requirment raises an interesting issue for democratic theory. On the one hand, a strike probably won't succeed if it only has a slim majority support. On the other, requiring a super majority means that the company can tailor the last, best, and final offer so as to peel off 34 percent. In recent years, a number of IAM
contract have been voted down by 70% or more but been accepted by default when they only got 64--65%.

It will be interesting to see if the almost 19,000 Boeing strikers get anywhere near the sympathy that certain circles have given to the 5,000 AMFA strikers.

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