Topics: Labor Unions

Seattle councilwoman urges Boeing workers 'take over the factories,' end profits

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Analysis,Boeing,Seattle

Seattle City Councilwoman-elect Kshama Sawant told members of the International Association of Machinists that if their contracts talks with Boeing are not resolved soon they should take drastic action.

"The workers should take over the factories, and shut down Boeing's profit-making machine," Sawant told the workers at an event Monday evening in Seattle's Westlake Park. She added that the managers at Boeing were "economic terrorists" for warning they may move production to other states if the union members hold out.

"The only response we can have if Boeing executives do not agree to keep the plant here is for the machinists to say the machines are here, the workers are here, we will do the job, we don't need the executives. The executives don't do the work, the machinists do,” she said.

She added that, once the workers do that, they should retool the factory so it doesn't produce "war machines." Boeing is a major military contractor.

Sawant, an avowed socialist radical, has made waves since winning a seat on the city council earlier this month. She ran on a platform of a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Boeing's seattle factories have been in turmoil since Nov. 13 when workers voted down a proposed contract -- worked out with union leaders -- that would have included a $10,000 signing bonus per worker, modest raises and shifting the workforce from a defined benefit pension plan to a 401(k) system. Workers said they wanted to keep the defined benefit system.

The company has said without the changes they may not be able to justify building their next generation planes in Seattle.

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