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Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 14, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Boeing: Pensions not a dirty word; Contract reflects current reality

Pensions not a dirty word

Danny Westneat raises a seemingly valid concern when he writes, “If doing away with pensions was so critical for the health of a private company making record profits, then why not for a cash-strapped state?” ["Boeing puts all pensions at risk,” NWTuesday, Jan. 7]

But then I remembered: Government was never intended to be a for-profit enterprise.

Pensions seem to be a dirty word these days, but they are nothing more or less than agreed-upon deferred compensation — receiving a slightly lower salary now in return for the promise of not living a hand-to-mouth existence in your old age.

Bill Glewicz, Woodinville

Contract terms reflect the current reality

As an investor, I must take issue with the statements made by Carl Schwartz in his letter [“Note a ‘done deal’,” Opinion, Jan. 9]. He implies that Boeing corporate executives siphon off funds from cash flow for their personal use.

Nothing could be further from the truth. They are paid a salary, as is any other Boeing employee, and perhaps an incentive bonus based on an agreed-upon set of criteria. No one is authorized to simply dip their hand in the till; That would be grounds for immediate dismissal and criminal prosecution. The executives work at the pleasure of the board of directors, who are elected by the shareholders: the ones who really have skin in the game.

Boeing workers enjoy a pay scale and benefits that well exceed the norm for the area, and they agreed to accept them as a condition of employment. To imply that Boeing executives are trying to force concessions from the employees is absurd — it would be counterproductive and make it impossible to attract a skilled workforce.

The recent contract terms reflect the current reality. Defined benefit pensions are no longer the norm, and 401(k)-type retirement plans give the employee more control over investment decisions.

Michael Albrich, Sequim

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

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