The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

December 31, 2013

Pension holders push Machinists to drop pensions

SEATTLE (AP) — Machinists in Puget Sound are under pressure to accept a Boeing contract offer that moves them away from pension plans, and much of that pressure is coming from local officials who have that type of retirement plan.

On Monday, several political leaders gathered in Everett, Wash., to talk about the importance of Machinists accepting a new contract this week. Of the six local leaders who called on the union members to accept the deal, one is already drawing pension payments while five others are expected to do so upon retirement.

John Lovick currently earns about $150,000 a year serving as Snohomish County's executive and is separately drawing more than $60,000 in pension payments from his career in the Washington State Patrol, according to records obtained by The Associated Press under public records law.

Lovick said he did not have the expertise to assess the differences between retirement plans and said he didn't know whether the contract requires the Machinists to surrender a lot. His push to get the contract accepted centered on job security, because Boeing is vowing to produce the new 777X airplane in the region if the contract is approved.

"We want that plane to be built here," Lovick said. "We want those good jobs to stay in this region."

Local union leaders are recommending a no vote on the contract because they feel it has too many concessions, and a particular sticking point has been Boeing's insistence that workers move from a traditional pension plan to a defined-contribution retirement savings plan.

National leaders of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers scheduled a vote for Friday despite the objections of local union officials. Since the Machinists rejected an initial contract offer in November, a total of 22 states have submitted bids to secure work on the 777X.

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