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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Boeing: Will 787 line move to S. Carolina?

Does S. Carolina know how to build a Boeing?

Editor, The Times:

Though I never built a Boeing aircraft, I did fly them. Because of the dedication, knowledge and expertise of Washington state craftsmen and women, many of those well-designed and constructed airframes are still flying.

Consider that the 707, 737, 747, B-52 and even some B-17s are still aloft. For nearly a century, Washingtonians knew how to build airplanes.

I can appreciate Boeing involving potential buyers in building new aircraft. However, it appears, Boeing has sacrificed quality for a kumbaya feeling. It seems that almost every day I read about some offshore partner — whose workers do not have the history, the experience or know-how of the Washingtonians who bleed Boeing blue — erring in their responsibilities.

But it is not only foreign builders and suppliers, but Americans as well. Who ever said South Carolinians could build an airplane? Who installed the wrong fasteners in the wrong places and caused damage to the composite structure?

Again, without the historical background and skill found in the Puget Sound area, the Gamecocks have stumbled. It seems to me that if I ran Boeing, I would want the best product at the best price. And that does not mean the lowest price — paying a worker $40 an hour for the job done correctly and professionally is less expensive than paying someone $30 an hour for a shoddy job that has to be done twice to get it right.

I guess I am not seeing the big picture because Boeing must know what it is doing and be going in the right direction — it’s too big to fail.

— Richard A. Virant, Bothell

Threats of strikes, then a final departure of 787 from Washington

The unions and government in Washington state should heed the knell of the vote to throw out the union at the Boeing facility in Charleston [“Boeing Charleston votes to oust Machinists Union,” Business, Sept. 11].

As one who grew up in western New York and watched businesses move manufacturing out of state due to the union and government attitude toward business, I see a dramatic parallel with the events of the past year. First, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (Idiots Against Management) strike on the only busy business in the nation; second, the shuttering of all the U.S. Marine plants while shifting that production to business-friendly states like Tennessee and Florida.

We should all remember: “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”

— Gary M. Schmidt, Seattle

Albaugh will respect Boeing’s skilled workers

With the appointment of Jim Albaugh as CEO of Boeing’s Commercial Airplane Division [“Boeing fix-it guy leads airliner unit,” page one, Sept. 1], a mending process can now begin to right the division and get the 787 Dreamliner flying.

Quoting Albaugh from a Times column: “In its soul, Boeing has always been and remains an engineering company.” He continues to say, “the heart of this company is the skilled machinists, technicians and mechanics — true craftsmen and wizards — who deliver on their promises everyday.”

Albaugh thus recognized the truism that a company’s greatest asset is its workers, and it appears the 787 is in good hands. Bon voyage, Boeing!

— Anthony E. Pomata, Maple Valley

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

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