'Reform ticket' to challenge leaders of Boeing's largest union

EVERETT - A national union election could become a referendum on the recent Boeing 777X contract vote.

Activists within the local chapter of the International Association of Machinists say they will challenge the union establishment in a national election.

The challenge comes barely a month after local Machinists approved a contract that gives up future pensions in return for local 777X jobs.

"I believe the concessions we gave up were too much," says Jason Redrup, a member of IAM District 751 who works for Boeing in Everett.

Over the weekend, union members nominated Redrup for national union vice-president. Redrup and Connecticut railroad man Jay Kronk will form a "reform ticket" to challenge current IAM president Tom Buffenbarger.

"What happens here in our district affects aerospace workers across the United States," Redrup says.

He believes local workers never would have approved the 777X contract had the vote been held another day. Current union leaders pushed for a vote on January 6, when scores of workers were still out on winter break.

Redrup says the outcome of that vote is affecting workers beyond the aerospace industry.

"You can see in the newspaper that what we voted on recently is having a ripple effect on the much larger community," he says. "For state workers, for teachers, for the city of Seattle. It becomes part of the reasoning for pensions to go away for all workers across the state of Washington."

The national IAM election will take place sometime before June. Redrup expects it to happen in April.