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Boeing has barred its private firefighters around Seattle from their duties due to a disagreement over pay

The National Transportation Safety Board (Via Anabelle Jones/Shutterstock)

Boeing has initiated a lockout of its private team of firefighters responsible for safeguarding its aircraft production sites around Seattle. This action follows unsuccessful wage negotiations with the firefighters’ union. The company confirmed on Saturday that approximately 125 firefighters were affected, along with a facility located about 170 miles away in central Washington.

These firefighters play critical roles as first responders to fires and medical emergencies, capable of calling in support from local fire departments.

“Despite extensive discussions with a federal mediator, we were unable to reach an agreement with the union,” Boeing stated in a release. “Consequently, we have locked out members of the bargaining unit and activated our contingency plan with highly skilled firefighters performing the duties of union members.”

Boeing logo on the screen (Via Tom Wilson/Shutterstock)

In response, the International Association of Firefighters union condemned Boeing’s lockout as an attempt to “punish, intimidate, and pressure” its firefighters into accepting a contract that diminishes the value of their work.

“By prioritizing profit over safety, Boeing has chosen to lock out our members, needlessly jeopardizing the safety of Washington facilities,” remarked Edward Kelly, the IAFF’s general president.

Boeing emphasized that the lockout would not disrupt its operations. This labor dispute occurs amid Boeing’s financial struggles — losses exceeding $24 billion since early 2019 — and heightened scrutiny regarding quality and safety in its manufacturing practices following incidents such as a door plug dislodging from an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max aircraft flying over Oregon in January.

Negotiations between Boeing and the union have spanned 2 1/2 months, with both sides accusing the other of negotiating in bad faith.

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