Union leaders say date is tentative but machinist could vote on 777X as early as Jan. 3

SEATTLE - It’s back to the ballot for machinist. A vote on 777X possibly happen as early as Jan 3rd.

The International Association of Machinist told Q13 Fox News on Saturday that the date was tentative but that the vote could happen. That push for a vote is controversial because leaders on the local level so far are not on board.

Machinist Mauri Osterberg is counting down the days until January 3.

“It’s great it’s great,” Osterberg said

He says there is too much at stake to keep the machinists from voting.

“That’s all the people wanted really was a chance to vote I do have a really good feeling that it will go through,” Osterberg said.

But union leaders appear to be at odds.

Local District 751’s website states that international is forcing a vote and local leaders are still recommending members reject the offer.

“Boeing is playing this best the IAM is totally at civil war, Boeing has played this very well they’ve played it like a fine tune piano,” Aviation Consultant Scott Hamilton said.

Hamilton says Boeing has the upper hand right now but also believes the company’s threat to build the 777X in another state is no bluff.

“Boeing is absolutely capable of putting the 777X somewhere else,” Hamilton said.

Last month, machinist rejected Boeing’s eight year contract by a 2 to 1 margin.

Union leaders say the latest offer is too similar to the one members rejected. But some machinist disagree

“The only thing that they didn’t put back in was the pension, there is no reason for the union to walk away from the contract,” Osterberg said.

“We’ve had another offer and for me it’s a better one,” machinist Martin Walters said.

Boeing wants to get rid of pensions in exchange for 401K retirement accounts.

Osterberg says he can live with that because the aerospace company made other concessions.

If there is a vote January 3rd and members vote no again, Hamilton says the 777Xwouldn’t be the only loss for the state.

“I think your going to see a progressive decline of Boeing’s presence in Washington state, it would take a generation but it will be gone,” Hamilton said.

If the contract is rejected Hamilton also said there is always a chance that Boeing could come back to the bargaining table. But as of Saturday night Boeing said its Dec. 12th contract offer still stands.

Union leaders near DC say they are not taking a side one way or another but they do want the debate to end and a decision to be made.