As 27,000 Boeing machinists hit the picket lines for the fifth day, representatives of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) released a comprehensive list of union demands on Wednesday.
While the list contains the usual complaints about pay raises and pensions, many machinists say it’s the lesser known issues like better coffee in the breakroom and more comfortable hand protection that are the most important to them.
“We actually had no problem getting Boeing to agree to our compensation demands,” said Mark Blondin, national aerospace coordinator for IAM. “But as soon as we brought up our demand that they replace Starbucks in the breakroom with Tully’s, the faces of the company negotiating team turned bright red and they literally smashed their fists on the table and stormed out of the room.”
In addition to Tully’s coffee and pleather gloves, the machinists’ union also requested yearly payouts of coupons for local tanning salons, a ferret petting zoo, and free herbal viagra.
Boeing negotiators balked at the extensive list of over three hundred detailed demands from the union.
“There is no way we are going to pay for bi-yearly trips to Kenya to hunt giraffe for 27,000 machinists,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Scott Carson. “The line has to be drawn somewhere.”
Machinists are convinced that Boeing has more than enough money to pay for every little inane desire that crosses their minds. At the same time, they hold the completely contradictory belief that Boeing cannot afford to shut down their already backlogged production lines. In the mind of a Boeing machinist, the company is both flush with cash and also on a shoestring budget.
As inconceivable as it may seem, Boeing seems determined to avoid following in the footsteps of such successful American manufacturers as GM and Ford, who combined have lost over eighty-three quadrillion dollars since January 2007, largely due to the crushing burdens of keeping their financial promises to employees.
As the strike winds into its second week, each side expressed a willingness to listen—if the other side will fully concede all their points and do a little dance of surrender.
“We didn’t come into this to play nice,” said Blondin. “We voted to strike because we want our gosh-darned ferret tanning—um, I mean viagra petting zoo—er, well, you saw our list… we want that stuff.”
Of course, each of the 23,000-plus machinists that voted to strike have their own personal reasons.
“Me, I just enjoy the experience of being on strike,” added Auburn-based machinist Tom Lookwell.