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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 9, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Boeing’s ultimatum: no sense in giving in to demands

Negotiating away right to strike is not an option

Editor, The Times:

The Boeing Machinists Union’s recent strike is a proud example of hardworking Americans’ efforts to protect themselves from the unadulterated greed of increasingly wealthy management.

Boeing routinely pays its CEOs tens of millions of dollars annually in salary, bonuses and severance. Union workers are routinely asked to make concessions, presumably so the increasingly wealthy can become obscenely, grotesquely wealthy. The union has a strong voice in the process only by having the right to strike.

Politicians like Norm Dicks and columnists like Danny Westneat [“Don’t let Boeing slip away,” NWWednesday, July 8] who suggest that any union even consider negotiating away the right to strike are only hastening our return to the robber-baron era when concepts like workplace-safety standards, minimum wage and weekends off were but a dream.

— Jim Trimbell, Shoreline

Maybe Puget Sound should just let Boeing go

So Boeing has decided that unless the union agrees to never again strike, they are moving out of the state [“Key lawmakers warn of Boeing ultimatum,” page one, July 8]. What a bunch of manure!

Why not just return to slavery? It would be good for business. No more pesky contracts, no more benefits.

There is a special place in hell reserved for the executives who are making millions and blaming the unions for any problems they encounter.

I, for one, am disgusted. Any politician who does not remind the company and themselves of the numerous tax incentives and benefits Boeing has already received is remiss. And as we can see from past agreements, Boeing is never going to have enough to ensure that it will stay in this area.

I say we let them go, and don’t let the door hit them on the way out.

— Carol Barber, Kent

Delays are result of Boeing outsourcing, not strike

Boeing and Norm Dicks blame the machinists’ strike for the delay of the 787 Dreamliner. Boeing wants a no-strike clause, or it will pick up its jobs and move them to South Carolina.

In truth, all the machinists have done is provide livable-wage jobs with decent benefits to thousands in the Puget Sound area. Boeing, on the other hand, has outsourced its production inefficiently and “cheaply,” and it has gotten what it paid for:

  • Sept. 6, 2007: Boeing announced its first delay of Dreamliner.
  • Oct. 11, 2007: Boeing announced at least a six-month delay.
  • Dec. 11, 2007: Boeing announced it was working through “wrinkles” that would delay the Dreamliner until “late 2008.”
  • Jan. 2, 2008: Boeing listed “unresolved production problems” had pushed delivery until 2009.
  • Feb. 2, 2008: Boeing transferred two executives to a “special assignment” involving production problems.
  • Sept. 7, 2008 to Nov. 1, 2008: The machinists’ strike stopped production.
  • June 23, 2008: Boeing released information that the problems were related to parts manufactured by Fuji and Mitsubishi that don’t meet properly in 36 separate places where the wings meet the body.

Boeing will move to South Carolina if they can’t break the union, but we all know that it is Boeing’s “doing things on the cheap” that was responsible for the delays, not the machinists.

— Thalia Syracopoulos, Seattle

Comments | More in aviation, Boeing, Business

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