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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 8, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Boeing to South Carolina: another management misstep?

Charleston 2, Seattle 0

Editor, The Times:

We gave you our superintendent of schools. You gave us the assembly of the 787 Dreamliner. It’s a win-win for Charleston, S.C., on all counts.

— Richard Lennon, Charleston

Boeing to Washington: leaving on a jet plane

I read your editorial [“Change the tone to keep aerospace jobs,” Opinion, July 8], and it ranks right up there with listening to a crackhead talk about sobriety.

Watching Boeing do business in Washington has been like seeing an alternate episode of “The Sopranos.” Apparently, Boeing decided it was done paying protection money. Does anyone really believe Boeing will be in business here in Washington five years from now? I think anyone with eyes could see the signal sent when headquarters moved to Chicago.

Can our local and state governments respond to this upcoming loss? I expect continued spending like drunken sailors. How long will it be before a bloody ear is sent to headquarters? It shouldn’t really matter whose it was because nobody in Olympia or King County has been listening for years.

— Bob Boren, Tacoma

S.C. move latest in series of Boeing blunders

Boeing senior management has embarked upon a series of disastrous decisions in recent years that are damaging its reputation beyond repair.

Management outsourced far too much 787 Dreamliner design and manufacturing to companies such as Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc. (which has a proven track record of ineptitude), resulting in years of delays on the aircraft’s delivery. Boeing has admitted the same publicly.

Management mishandled negotiations on the 2008 contract with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), resulting in a 57-day strike that was ended by agreeing to terms that should have been offered during initial contract negotiations and would have avoided the strike in the first place. Boeing then blamed the more than two-year delay of the 787 program on the unnecessary 57-day strike. But 57 days does not equal two years.

Management extracted billions of dollars in concessions from Washington state in exchange for assurances that 787 final assembly would remain in Washington. It has changed these terms and now demands further concessions in the form of reduced labor and unemployment benefits as well as a no-strike agreement with the IAM for the same agreement. What guarantee is there that there will be no further demands upon the state of Washington and the unions?

Management is now considering a ruinously expensive investment to construct a duplicate final assembly facility in South Carolina in an area lacking the skilled pool of aerospace talent necessary to operate it.

Is Boeing management deliberately following the path of General Motors and Chrysler?

— James Patrick, Lynnwood

Comments | More in aviation, Boeing, Business, Labor, Politics


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