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St. Louis Machinists President Changes Message, Says He’d Talk With Boeing


The president of the St. Louis machinists union tells his hometown newspaper that he's “prepared and ready to sit down with Boeing” to discuss moving 777X production to Missouri. 

The union chief’s comments Thursday come one day after he said the work should remain in Washington.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports machinists president Gordon King is “walking back” his previous comments.

In an exclusive interview with public radio's Northwest News Network Wednesday, King said his union “brothers and sisters in Seattle are the best qualified” to build the 777X. But he was clear that if Boeing decides to move the plane’s production elsewhere, he wants the jobs in St. Louis.

King also said in two separate interviews that his members would not accept the contract Boeing offered Northwest machinists. “I would not present that package to my membership, no.” King told the Northwest News Network. Asked why, King said, "because they would not take those concessions."

King says his union has already given ground on retirement benefits for new hires. The contract rejected by Northwest machinists would have gone further – pensions would have been frozen and members transitioned to 401Ks.

The Missouri legislature is meeting in special session this week to approve a Boeing incentive package.