Union to offer absentee ballots for Jan. 3 vote on Boeing proposal

SEATTLE -- Due to the holidays, Machinists employed by Boeing will be allowed to vote by absentee ballot on the company's latest 777X contract offer, the union confirmed Monday.

"Recognizing that many of our members are on approved vacation and out of the area on the voting day of January 3rd, District 751 got the International President to grant authority to do a one-time absentee ballot process on a contract vote," the International Association of Machinists District 751 said on its website. "We are currently developing an absentee ballot process for those out of the area who cannot make it to the polls on Jan. 3rd.

"We are still working on the details of that process. Please monitor this site for instructions on how to obtain an absentee ballot. These are extraordinary times and our goal is to ensure that every member gets an opportunity to vote," the website notice said.

By a 2-to-1 margin, the Machinists rejected the last contract offer that Boeing said it would need in order to build the planned new airliner, the 777X, in Western Washington.  The company recently submitted a revised contract offer to the union leadership, which rejected it as little different from the first. However, an outcry by some union members to vote on the proplosal led to the union leadership's decision to allow a full membership vote.

The new vote is set for Jan. 3.