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Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 28, 2013 at 7:48 AM

Boeing and Machinists need to compromise

As competition increases, we don’t have time for threats and strikes

Most of the letters to date have supported Boeing in the contract fiasco with the Machinists union [“15 sites picked to make pitch for 777X, page one, Nov. 24].

I am one who faults both sides. Since the merger, Boeing has been increasingly hostile to unions in general and the Machinists in particular. The peremptory, take-it-or-leave-it manner in which It threw the latest “labor peace” contract on the table is an indicator of the loathing senior management has for this union. For the union’s part, its Christmas 2008 strike was both arrogant and foolish, and utterly unnecessary. It cemented a hostile confrontational animus toward management.

Several letters have pointed out that Machinists are simple riveters and are delusional if they expect such high wages. I wonder if these same people are conscious of those rivets when they travel in aircraft that have over 10,000 takeoff and landing cycles? Management seems to ignore the long history of these “riveters” solving serious production problems unanticipated during aircraft design phases, a history these workers are rightfully proud of. Air-industry analysts have stated that a negotiated compromise contract would add little to the overall cost of the new 777X, provided of course that it was built here.

Both sides need to come out from behind their fortress walls and start talking. Boeing faces increased competition, and not just from Airbus. A race to the bottom for labor cost is not the way to meet these threats, nor are periodic strikes just to make a point.

— Paul Gutowski, Seattle

Comments | More in Boeing | Topics: Boeing

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