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Machinists Accept Cuts to Keep Boeing’s 777X in Washington State

The Machinists union, by a slim margin, on Saturday night agreed to reduced benefits in a deal that could ensure that Boeing’s new 777X jet will be built in Washington state.

The new contract was approved by 51 percent of the union members who voted, The Herald of Everett, Wash., reported.

 Boeing and the Machinists had been waging a test of wills over the deal, which includes a pension freeze and higher health care expenses.

Boeing had threatened to move the project, and the thousands of jobs that were at stake, out of Washington. Boeing already has a final assembly plant for the 787 jetliner in South Carolina.

The union had been gambling that Boeing was bluffing in an attempt to extract deeper concessions and would finally accept that the workforce in the Puget Sound region was the most qualified to build the 777X.

In the end, Boeing worker Bob Dennis told The Associated Press as he prepared to vote for the deal Friday, “I think this is our last opportunity to keep those jobs in the state.”