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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 19, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Boeing’s demands: Should they get what they want?

Concessions must be made to keep Boeing here

Editor, The Times:

Jon Talton may be correct in his contention that executive blunders have had a bigger effect on Boeing’s competitiveness than the strikes [“Washington may benefit from Southern strategy,” Business, July 12]. But as we look ahead, whether he is or isn’t correct is irrelevant.

What is relevant is the question of what it will take to persuade Boeing to locate the second Dreamliner 787 line — and probably the 737 replacement line — here. And then the question of whether the state and the unions are willing to pay the price. Boeing, just to survive, must continually improve its competitiveness. This means building airplanes wherever they can get the best overall cost, schedule and quality performance. Clearly, a no-strike commitment would be a major incentive for them to remain here, and the lack of one would be a major incentive to move.

Strikes and overly generous and restrictive contracts were major reasons for the collapse of the U.S. auto industry. If Boeing workers don’t want to end up as United Auto Workers members have, they will need to help, not hinder, Boeing in its efforts to improve its competitiveness.

This applies to Washington state as well. If the state wants to continue to enjoy the payrolls, taxes and other economic benefits brought by Boeing, they need to give Boeing incentives to stay.

— Clark B. McKee, Anacortes

Union already has a simple no-strike clause

I wonder if Jim McNerney’s job as the CEO of Boeing is to run the company into the ground –if it is, he should get a raise.

I also think that the machinists union already has a no-strike clause: If the machinists are offered decent contracts without removing benefits they’ve already fought for, they won’t strike.

— Dan McCafferty, Naches

Comments | More in aviation, Boeing, Business, Labor

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