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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 9, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Boeing: Pay parity, for the sake of jobs and lessons from Henry Ford

010214 - SEATTLE, WA - Rob Curran will have 27-years in at Boeing Auburn this May, and he and his machinist brethren wanted to make sure they were heard on the latest Boeing proposal Thursday at union headquarters in South Park. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times).

Rob Curran and other Machinists before the 777X contract vote last week in South Park. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times).

Where’s the parity between executives and Machinists?

Boeing workers pumped out more jets in 2013 than ever before [“Boeing’s 2013 deliveries soar to record despite 787 woes,” Business, Jan. 6]. Jet sales were the second highest in company history. Sales are up, profits are up, and Boeing stock is up.

Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney’s annual salary is up 20 percent to $27.5 million and his pension increased dramatically as well.

CEO Ray Conner praised the amazing workforce that made this all possible. He wants to recognize everyone’s outstanding work. Just how did he recognize their outstanding work? How was this amazing workforce rewarded? Did their salaries increase by 20 percent? No. Their salaries will increase 1 percent every other year. Did their pensions go up? No. They had to sacrifice their pensions.

Before America became the land of the greed, companies appreciated and rewarded their workforces for delivering a hit record. Now the workforce just gets hit.

Deborah Wilson, Everett

All done to the drumbeat of jobs

It is said that the last refuge of scoundrels is patriotism, but these days, it’s the empty drumbeat of jobs. While state Democrats, The Seattle Times and even the International officials of the Machinists union celebrate, the people who build Boeing planes have been turned into low-wage workers. This outcome will bring the opposite of the prosperity the bigwigs claim.

Do the math. The billions the politicians say will come to the state from this deal is being paid up front by the working taxpayers and Boeing employees. The company is still free to outsource as much as it wants and leave whenever it wants.

The most shameful part of the deal is that company profits are going up and executives rake in compensation in the tens of millions. Workers will face ever more demands for concessions. The union will need to be rebuilt from the ground up.

I urge Boeing workers to do that with shop-floor organizing and thinking outside the legalistic box. If they do, they can come back to show Boeing a thing or two.

Megan Cornish, Seattle

Lessons from Henry Ford

The Boeing Machinists’ contract news on Jan. 5 reminded me of a hundred years ago: Jan. 5, 1914. It was on that day that Henry Ford more than doubled his employee’s wages to $5 a day; everyone from vacuum sweepers to mechanics and others.

Ford believed that by doing so he got the very best and loyal workers. He also shortened the workday from nine hours to eight hours.

The production line was booming. Plus, with the added wages, workers could now actually buy a Ford car. This contributed to the beginning of the middle class. Ford changed manufacturing forever.

It seems strange that the CEO of Boeing now wants to run the company with the cheapest labor he can find. Apparently Ford knew something that Boeing managers don’t know:

You never get something for nothing.

Kathleen Bukoskey, Everett

The positive effects of a no vote

Sad that no one covers what the positive effects would be if the union did not approve Boeing’s offer: 20,000 fewer commuters every day; more tax dollars until Boeing leaves.

If Boeing hadn’t already received the message, a strike by the union in 2016 demanding more money and benefits would surely reinforce Boeing’s decision to leave the Northwest.

But keep the faith, Boeing will have another chance when the new planes to replace the narrow-bodied ones comes up in a few years.

Michael O’Donnell, Burlington

Comments | More in Boeing | Topics: 777X, Boeing, Machinists


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