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Major Contract May Bring Thousands of Contracts, Billions of Dollars to Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Thousands of new jobs in Missouri are at stake and billions of dollars are on the line.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Thousands of new jobs in Missouri are at stake and billions of dollars are on the line.

Lawmakers are working feverishly in a special session to bring more jobs and production of the Boeing 777x to Missouri.

Governor Jay Nixon has been working with labor leaders and announced what he calls a historic agreement among construction labor councils for a 24-hour work schedule without overtime. 

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder was in Springfield Tuesday (Dec. 3) at a speaking engagement. KOLR10 talked to him about this hustle by lawmakers to bring this Boeing project to the state. 

To get Boeing here, lawmakers need to prove the state has the skilled workers, the tax incentives and the infrastructure that Boeing needs. All of it needs to happen before a December 10 deadline. 

"It's a roll of the dice in which you put your best offer on the table to Boeing," says Lt. Governor Peter Kinder.

It is a bipartisan effort to bring the Boeing 777X project to the state.

"It is stiff competition,” says Kinder. “Fifteen states total and there's no guarantee that we get it."

These lawmakers are working under a deadline a week away.

It's a contract worth billions of dollars and thousands of jobs; a boon for Missouri.

"The Senate will be working on a bill tomorrow morning, Wednesday morning,’ says Kinder.

Kinder says working with the aerospace giant isn't an all or nothing proposition.

"It's possible that we could say, get the wing construction,” says Kinder. “This would be thousands of jobs and still billions of dollars."

Boeing already has a huge presence in St. Louis, but Kinder says the production of the FA18 is coming to an end. 

While lawmakers toil, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is doing wrangling of his own.

Nixon announced what he calls a historic agreement among St. Louis construction labor councils for a 24-hour work schedule. 

Nixon says the 24-hour work schedule would double the number of work hours each week, triple the workforce and reduce the construction time by a year.

Some Republican lawmakers said the fact Missouri is not a "right to work" state could hurt the state. A right to work state is a state where workers are not required to join a union with certain employers.

In a media phone conference, Governor Nixon says it hasn't been brought up as in issue by Boeing. 

"In the discussions we've had the focus has been on the productivity and the guarantee of the workers,” says Nixon. “And I think that this strong signal today that the workforce of the Show Me State is willing to be significant players in the front end of this, sends a very strong signal that we are committed to this long term transformational investment and opportunity in our region."

The bill will put millions of dollars of funding for programs already in place in the state to train workers and create tax incentives.

Those programs are Missouri works, build, state TIJFs and Missouri work training.

They will be used for job creation, worker training and infrastructure development within the proposal to Boeing to win the project.

Kinder says the Senate will be moving legislation as early as Wednesday. 
 
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