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11-12-2013, 11:25 AM #1
Boeing "machinists" average $85K/year....
I hope this isn't too far of topic, but we have an interesting situation in the Seattle area. A new contract between Boeing and the machinist's union is coming up for vote tomorrow. According to Boeing the future of new plane manufacturing in this area depends on the outcome of the machinist's vote to accept or reject the new contract terms. Apparently the new contract lessens the company contribution to health and pension benefits, but assures jobs will stay in the area. Plus union members will receive an instant $10K signing bonus.
If the vote should reject the contract Boeing says the work may go elsewhere, as Boeing did when they set up a plant in SC for the Dreamliner. The Washington state legislature just gave Boeing a 9 billion tax reduction if they stay here with new planes.
The $85K average salary factoring in benefits is what got me, it's surprisingly high IMO. That would be average for all 26,000 members of the machinists union, which means those working in the factory, not only those running machine tools. According to this morning's paper the union is about divided on acceptance and rejection. Those favoring rejection figure Boeing is bluffing. I'm not so sure Boeing is bluffing according to one news report 1/3 of the Dreamliner's parts are now being made in Japan.
This area has lived and breathed Boeing (the "lazy B" as it was known) for many years. Close to 60,000 area jobs are dependent on Boeing. The area is also becoming an expensive place to live ($500K will get you minimal house in a reasonably safe neighborhood in Seattle).
Based on what I've read about machinist salaries around the country on this forum I wonder what you guys think.
11-12-2013, 11:39 AM #2
COMPANY NEWS - I.B.M. TO CLOSE KINGSTON, N.Y., PLANT AND SHIFT JOBS - NYTimes.com
This was 1994. IBM wanted tax incentives from Ulster county for them to stay in Kingston. Ulster called IBMs bluff. IBM wasn't bluffing.
Last week I rode my bicycle through the old abandoned IBM complex. All I can say is WOW! That place is big and still empty after all these years. A lot of people lost their jobs and things are still going down hill.
I suggest the Boeing employees learn from Kingston's mistake.
11-12-2013, 11:43 AM #3
We have a Boeing plant local here. I know what they work on there. But I don't know anybody personally that works there. I have talked to a few CNC techs that have spent time in there, and know people who do work there. They told me the pay is not what you would expect (on the low side). And the parking-lot ranges the full gamut from high-end Mercedes, and $70k diesel trucks, right down to $2k beaters, and old jeeps. Lots of motorcycles and corvettes also. If I had to guess the average there would be $60-70k? after bennies (that's just a guess).
11-12-2013, 11:51 AM #4
11-12-2013, 12:00 PM #5
In Wichita Boeing sold most of the manufacturing to Spirit, and is in the process of closing the rest of it. The work will either move to Oklahoma City or South Carolina. This was the reward to Kansas' congressional members for getting the air tanker contract reopened. Boeing already moved the company headquarters to Chicago.
If I was voting that is a bluff I wouldn't have the guts to call unless I was 3 days from retirement.
11-12-2013, 12:18 PM #6
When the union's man first commented on Boeing's proposal the newspaper reported he commented it was "crap". A TV newsperson said she wasn't allowed to use his really descriptive words on the air.
Since then the union reps are now appearing neutral on the vote. It could well be they've reassessed Boeing's threats to phase out new plane building in the Pacific Northwest.
BTW, I bet the average pay of actual machine tool operators are at the high end of the pay range, beyond the $85K average.
11-12-2013, 12:51 PM #7
Counting overtime, benefits, UE and WC insurance, employer contributions to fed taxes and such, is this a bad number?
Many ways to look at the "cost" or "total compensation" of an employee.
11-12-2013, 01:04 PM #8
Eventually Boeing won't build a thing in Washington state, and I bet it happens in my lifetime. Business is business, simple as that.
Have I mentioned I LOVE unions! As long as the unions, in the strong union states, continue there hard line tactics, companies will continue to move there production to less expensive areas. I live in Mississippi, it doesn't get a lot cheaper than here, at least in the US. Hard line union tactics have been a real boon to the deep south.
11-12-2013, 01:49 PM #9
11-12-2013, 02:15 PM #10
11-12-2013, 02:43 PM #11
In this case the union has an opportunity to preserve their jobs into the future by making some concessions which don't seem out of line to me. Job security certainly would be a concern to me if I was there. These workers likely are the group that would be the most adversely affected if Boeing does leave.
11-12-2013, 02:46 PM #12
11-12-2013, 03:00 PM #13
On the other hand, blue collar wages peaked several decades ago and real wages (after inflation) have decreased significantly. More ominously, in the current recovery from the Great Recession, even white collar wages have been held flat while corporate profits have been really high. Great if you're a major stockholder or an executive with options. Lousy if you work for wages. Income inequality in the United States is now almost back to where it was in the 1920s.
So I don't think we will see the gravy days of the 1960's again, even if there were a union revival. Among other reasons, the blue collar industries have shrunk massively, so there just aren't that many big factory jobs. But I don't think we will see skilled machinists working for the minimum wage, either.
11-12-2013, 03:13 PM #14
While I know the UAW wage structure like the back of my hand I have no idea about Boeing.
What is a "machinist" classification and what does it pay per hour?
Many tiers here in the pay rate? Is this a skilled trades position or does it include button-pushers and part loaders?
I'm sure the cost of housing and living in this area is just as low as Mississipi.
Outside of the guys who work for me, who are of course "special and highly trained", ........
should a machinist make more than $12.50 per hour in the new competitive world we live in.
My problems with union structures have more to do with keeping slackers on board than with what the good employees make.
The good guys are worth the money.
11-12-2013, 03:40 PM #15
The classification of what makes a machinist at Boeing is pretty broad - and includes guys who run machines of traditional AND special design. We have worked on everything from parts degreasing washers to wing skin riveters that were operated by Union Machinists.
I think the goal of the machinist union is to capture as many labor functions as possible under union representation - as such, there would be a large number of these machinists (perhaps even a majority) that wouldn't necessarily know how to operate a lathe or a milling machine much less know the difference between them. It is a completely different world - they run wing riveters, carbon fiber layup lines, bushing installation tools . . . stuff that the average machinist wouldn't even be able to identify.
I have worked on fuselage joining jigs where lasers are used to give guidance in alignment of individual sections and portable jigs are moved into place with drill bushings that guide the machinist on where to place the drill bit in his pneumatic drill (chained to the fixture) . . . you get everything aligned and then use your drill to match drill fastener locations, install fasteners finger tight and then move on. Someone else follows behind and torques the fasteners to the appropriate level and they move on. This is done over and over day in and day out and may be the only function that this machinist does in his career. My sense is that this is at the lower end of compensation and it is either a starting point from which you launch to greater aspirations OR you are happy working here and stay till you retire.
The more complex machining operations (like taking a titanium forging that weighs 5,000 lbs and turning it into a 1500 lb landing gear strut) use large super profilers (Ingersol dual head units) with pallets that weigh upwards of 20,000 lbs that are shuttled around with cars servicing upwards of 8 - 10 machines. These guys are very skilled and manage machines with tool carousels with multiple dozens of tools - and one screw up is very costly - this is on the upper end of the skill level and these guys likely receive the upper end of compensation.
11-13-2013, 03:46 AM #16
Hell we was making way more than that in the early 90s,
Yep to the boys in the south excepting slave wages, have at it!
Lets start another thread aboot"why can,t we machinist make more than just above poverty"
Big B liked this post
11-13-2013, 07:55 AM #17
IN 2008, I believe, Boeing renegotiated their salaries with the IAM. The old guys, who were on before then, might average 85k. But the new hires start at eleven bucks.
Here is the wage card from the IAM website.
New hires start at the bottom left corner.
IAM District 751 wage card
This makes for a two tier system with the young guys making more like 35k.
11-13-2013, 08:06 AM #18
I doubt an experienced machinist would hire in at the lowest pay ($11) of the bottom tier. That sounds like helper's wages.
The 85K includes benefits, which aren't listed on the wage card. I read in the paper here awhile back that the average federal worker in my area makes something like $107,000/yr., but if you add in their benefit package, total compensation is more like $162,000/yr. So benefits can add quite a bit to the salary.
Speaking of public employees pay, there was an article in the paper this week showing that 140 county and city workers in my area are paid more than our state's governor. He makes $120,000/yr.
So a machinist at Boeing making let's say $55,000/yr. plus another $30,000 in benefits doesn't seem out of line to me at all.
11-13-2013, 08:59 AM #19
When I retired from a large automotive OEM supplier I was at the top of the hourly pay scale at about $33/Hr. Every time a contract came up for renewal the press would plaster figures like $85/Hr. all over the news as "average wage". Lots of people that I knew thought I was making over $85 because they knew that I was skilled trades. My take home pay after taxes was likely closer to $22/Hr. after taxes.
I know that insurance is expensive, but over $50/hr for bennies seems a little suspect. They were probably figuring in the space that our benches sat in and the machines that we ran.
As the old saying goes, "Figures do not lie. Liars figure".
I can say that running my own shop makes $33/hr seem like chump change. If I couldn't average much more than that I would quit doing it. Add to that the fact that literally everything I do related to the business is a tax deduction. Working hourly at the plant I didn't get much in the line of deductions.
Not many things I find more entertaining than listening to the wealthy bitch about how much the peons make and how much taxes they pay. It is pretty simple to me. If you are paying lots of taxes you are making lots of money. But then the wealthy don't feel they should have to pay for the infrastructure that keeps this country going. Only the little people pay taxes, according to the late Leona Helmsley.
11-13-2013, 09:16 AM #20
As others have alluded to the "total compensation" number can be decieving to some degree. I worked for a company that factored in Unemployment insurance, Social security, the 15 minute paid break, the uniforms provided, vacation time, the one sick day per year, average 401k matching $. I am not saying those things are not a cost of having an employee.....I am only saying that it is very easy to get to the $85k number even though the employee is seeing $50 or $60k on his / her check.......You know the old saying.....figures lie and liars figure....