The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Dan Catchpole | dcatchpole@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, December 16, 2013, 2:43 p.m.

State rep calls out governor, others over IAM vote

Democratic state Rep. Mike Sells of Everett thinks Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen should give up their taxpayer-funded pensions if they think Machinists should do the same by approving a contract extension with the Boeing Co.

"I would suggest that those self-same politicians with a pension give it up for a 401(k) and put their money where their mouth is," wrote Sells on his Facebook page Saturday. His Facebook content is available only to friends.

Sells, who is executive secretary of the Snohomish County Labor Council, also criticized those demanding a vote for not having the courtesy to call local labor leaders to talk about the issue.

"It speaks volumes about how many of them view working people," he wrote.

Here's Sells' complete online comment:

"Is it any wonder that many will feel anger and disrespect being aimed at working people by the Governor and local politicians who have decided to interject themselves into the Boeing/Machinists bargaining? Not one of them pushing a vote on a sub standard contract has had the courtesy to call local labor leaders in Snohomish County to discuss the issue. It speaks volumes about how many of them view working people. I would suggest that those self same politicians with a pension give it up for a 401(k) and put their money where their mouth is."

Monday, Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, offered his own rousing defense of the actions of the leaders of International Association of Machinists. He, too, took aim at Inslee and Larsen, both Democrats:

"... No one is in a better position to evaluate whether a contract proposal is worthy of being brought before the membership for consideration than the machinists themselves and their elected leaders. While Governor Jay Inslee and Congressman Rick Larson are certainly entitled to their opinions about Boeing's proposal, putting their opinions in a press statement is absolutely disrespectful to the Machinists and to the labor movement. That they expressed their views so publicly and so supportively of the company's position reveals how little they understand and respect the collective bargaining process and the generations of sacrifice made by machinists to make this company prosperous."

On the other side of this coin, two state Senate leaders emailed IAM District 751 President Tom Wroblewski on Friday to urge him to hold a vote.

"We believe that the future of aerospace manufacturing in Washington state may rest on the ability of your members to vote," wrote Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, and Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville. Both are members of the Majority Coalition Caucus in the Senate.

"We trust that your members will make the best decision. We respectfully ask, however, that you allow them to make that choice for themselves."

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