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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 26, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Boeing will build the 777X in a state that wants the jobs

$100 billion of confirmed orders would be lost

Union members celebrate the turn down of the proposed Boeing Corporation contract  Nov. 13. The vote would have secured production of the new Boeing 777x for the Seattle area in exchange for heavy worker contract cuts. (AP Photo/The Herald, Genna Martin)

Union members celebrate the turn down of the proposed Boeing Corporation contract Nov. 13. The vote would have secured production of the new Boeing 777x for the Seattle area in exchange for heavy worker contract cuts. (AP Photo/The Herald, Genna Martin)

Will somebody from the union side of the world please explain to us what the local Machinists union just accomplished by refusing to build the Boeing 777X in Washington state? Yes, it protected some union benefits, but at what cost to the state? [“15 sites picked to make pitch for 777X,” page one, Nov. 24].

This last week, Boeing signed contracts to build $100 billion worth of the 777X somewhere. With a hundred billion dollars in confirmed orders, it can build the plane anywhere it wants (and it wanted to build it here). The Machinists said “no.”

Washington voters also said no to helping Boeing with other incentives to build the 777X in the state. The company is now doing what any company would do in this hostile climate: look for a state that wants the jobs.

Much of this $100 billion would have ended up in Washington state, paying for jobs, cars, houses and all the other things thousands of workers would purchase. The $100 billion is only a start on the amount the company will eventually spend on this product line. I don’t know how much the state could have expected in tax revenue, but I’m guessing it would have been a very significant amount. It would have been a big win for everybody, including the union.

So what new money is the local Machinists union bringing into the state? The name of this story is, “how to drive thousands of jobs out of state in one easy lesson.”

— Richard Rogers and Donald O’Malley, Clarkston

It’s common sense to build the 777X in Everett

Dominic Gates’ article was quite interesting and brings up a great point, i.e. analysts say Boeing search makes no sense.

Boeing in the past has made similar decisions that many businessmen and women would not have made. Back in 2005, Boeing wanted to cut various union benefits. As a result, the Machinists went on strike for 28 days costing the company over $300 million dollars. Then again in 2008, the Machinists went on strike and Boeing management held out for 53 days, costing the company over $3.5 billion in lost revenue, penalties and postponements. The cost of the settling with the union was far less than the losses.

Now I read that Boeing’s South Carolina plant is not performing well. The plant is not meeting Boeing’s production goals of three planes per month, producing half that many. I’m neither a pro-Boeing machinist nor anti-Boeing management, but I hope that Boeing will take a common-sense approach to building the 777X in Everett.

Whatever savings Boeing thinks it can earn by moving assembly of the 777X elsewhere may well beget term losses, due in part to a learning curve, low productivity, delays and defective planes. We can only hope that Boeing management will come to their senses and see that Everett is their best option for profitability in the long run.

— Daniel Mauch, Bothell

0 Comments | More in Boeing | Topics: Boeing

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