Boeing, Machinists introduce performance bonus plan
An incentive plan covering 32,000 Machinists in the Puget Sound region, Portland and Wichita, Kan., has been finalized by the union and Boeing.
Seattle Times aerospace reporter
Boeing and the Machinists union have hammered out the details of a new performance bonus plan established in their landmark contract deal last November.
The new annual incentive plan will provide a bonus of up to 4 percent of gross wages for 32,000 Machinists in Boeing's factories in the Puget Sound region, Portland and Wichita, Kan.
Until now, only engineers and nonunion Boeing employees have had an annual incentive-plan payout.
The size of the Machinists' bonus will be tied to how the workforce performs against productivity, quality and safety targets during the previous year.
Because the plan takes effect at the end of June, the first payout — likely in February — will be based on targets covering the initial six months, said International Association of Machinists (IAM) spokeswoman Connie Kelliher.
In a statement, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Jim Albaugh said the incentive plan "affirms the role each of us plays in the performance of the business and provides a way to share in its success."
Tom Wroblewski, IAM district 751 president, said it shows what the union and management can do "when we understand each other's needs and work together towards a shared goal."
The plan was part of a wide-ranging agreement last year that included a contract extension until fall 2016. It came as Boeing sought labor peace as it looked ahead to an unprecedented boom in production.
The deal included a $5,000 ratification bonus and annual general wage increases of 2 percent. In addition, the company agreed to build the 737 MAX in Renton and the union agreed to drop its National Labor Relations Board case against Boeing.
In a tangible sign of the new labor relationship, IAM stewards and first-line managers jointly presented details of the new bonus plan to employees in meetings this week.
A veteran Machinist, who asked not to be identified because he's not authorized to speak publicly, said the plan was received favorably by union members.
"I think this will do a lot to motivate people," he said. "If everybody does their job correctly, the whole team will succeed."
The company and the union began discussing performance metrics early this year.
Wroblewski said the union "emphasized the targets had to be obtainable so members see the value in participating and striving to continually improve performance."
• Productivity will be measured by how many parts are produced or how many days it takes to build airplanes.
• Quality will be measured by the number of defects that show up in workmanship, with each defect classified to separate those attributable to engineering changes or supplier errors from those caused by Machinist errors in manufacturing or assembly.
• Safety will be measured by the number of accidents that lead to lost work days.
"Working together has been a really positive experience," said Boeing spokesman Tim Healy. "It's new and different for both of us."
Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or email@example.com