Read between the lines of the Seattle Times’ Dominic Gates’ interview with Boeing Commercial Airplanes boss Jim Albaugh, and something takes shape. It goes beyond his discussion of how much Boeing values its Puget Sound employees and that there’s plenty of work to go around — so much that the company has added nearly 4,700 workers here in the past year while the general hiring outlook is dismal.
There’s a chance for a Grand Compromise between Boeing and its unions. In exchange for no strikes, Boeing will stay here and grow, probably even build the successor to the 737 in the Seattle area.
Boeing’s Jack Welch- McDonnell Douglas-culture executives were burned badly by their decision to outsource so much of the 787 Dreamliner and disrespect the deep engineering talent and machinist skills it enjoys here. Starting from scratch in North Charleston can’t be easy. One would hope that Boeing’s unions and their leaders have learned that the old blunt weapon of the strike won’t work anymore.
Both sides need face-saving ways out of the National Labor Relations Board battle over moving work to South Carolina as a direct retaliation against the union’s lawful right to strike. The decision has now become highly politicized and the outcome won’t ultimately be in labor’s interests.
The future challenges are not cheap South Carolina. They are China, supported by state capitalism, and Brazil.
Take the deal.
Today’s Econ Haiku:
Bringing down the hedge fund boyz
Old crime and new perps