Group Health Cooperative expresses solidarity with Boeing machinists by granting them membership on a deferred-dues basis during their strike that begins on April 22, 1948.

  • By HistoryLink Staff
  • Posted 8/14/2005
  • Essay 7426
Between April 22 and September 13, 1948, the newly founded Group Health Cooperative expresses solidarity with Boeing Co. machinists (International Association of Machinists, or IAM) by granting them membership on a deferred-dues basis. This action solidifies Group Health's relationships with labor, but results in the Boeing Company's longterm enmity toward Group Health.

Even as late as 1963, Boeing's hostility toward Group Health was evident. During that year, Group Health signed a contract with the Seattle Professional Engineering Employees Association (SPEEA), which consisted mostly of Boeing engineers. Despite this contract, Boeing refused to handle payroll deductions for its other workers.

Dr. H. Frank Newman, then assistant director for medical affairs and later Executive Director, explained in an interview that Boeing, "never forgave us" for supporting the IAM Boeing strike. "We would never have expanded our Boeing Group without the SPEEA group, and they simply would not settle their contract until they were permitted to have Group Health coverage" (Crowley, 116).

Sources: Walt Crowley, To Serve the Greatest Number: A History of Group Health Cooperative of Seattle (Seattle: GHC/University of Washington Press, 1995), 52, 116; Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Boeing Machinists Strike, 1948" (by Ross Rieder), (accessed August 13, 2005).

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