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Seattle Times letters to the editor

Topic: Boeing

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March 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Close corporate tax loopholes for large companies

Boeing won’t be paying any taxes this year [“Boeing has big tax refund coming from Uncle Sam — again,” seattletimes.com, March 1].

Instead, by deferring tax payments, it will be getting a $199 million refund. It’s not alone; many corporations are avoiding taxes altogether through loopholes. In the Senate there is a bill that would close corporate tax loopholes that allow multinational corporations to hide their profits overseas to avoid paying taxes, and we should encourage Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to champion it.

At least 82 of the top 100 publicly traded companies in America use tax havens like the Cayman Islands. Offshore tax dodging amounts to $150 billion a year in lost revenue — costing the average small business in Washington $3,616 extra each year, according to WashPIRG data. Small businesses, like individual taxpayers, are obligated to pay their taxes, so why should multinational corporations get off the hook?

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February 11, 2014 at 6:03 AM

Pension reform: the well-being of city employees; realities don’t reflect rhetoric

Messing with the well-being of city employees

In The Seattle Times’ Business section aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia warns that Boeing is running big risks in forcing major concessions from its unions [“Analyst Aboulafia lauds 777X, berates Boeing for creating ‘ill will', Business/Technology, Feb. 6].

He comments, “If you don’t have the workers on your team working with you and feeling good, you’ve lost a big chunk of the battle.” It is well known that the forced concession angering Boeing machinists is the substitution of a 401(k) plan for their defined-benefit pension.

Yet, on the following page, former State Auditor Brian Sonntag suggests that Seattle might do well to follow this same path with our city employees [“Seattle’s pension system is unsustainable,” Opinion, Feb. 5]. Do we really want those supplying our essential city services, many of whom make considerably less than Boeing workers, to work for us feeling they are no longer respected players on our city team?

Edith Ruby, Seattle

Realities of retirement planning do not reflect rhetoric

What if everyone who has a mortgage had to make all of their future payments right now? It would not be surprising to find that the total sum could not be paid if the amount owed on those mortgages “came due all at once.” Although this is what former State Auditor Brian Sonntag presents as a problem, it is not what happens with mortgages, nor does it happen with pension obligations.

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0 Comments | More in Pensions | Topics: Boeing, Brian Sonntag, Edith Ruby

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.

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

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.

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

January 7, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Boeing: Questions, limited options, fighting states, new leadership needed

Boeing Factory in Everett Washington. The Boeing Everett factory product line includes the 747, 767, 777 and 787. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times).

The Boeing factory in Everett. The factory product line includes the 747, 767, 777 and 787. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times).

Members of the Machinists union Friday accepted Boeing’s contract proposal by a slim 51 percent, sealing a cliffhanger ending to a tense chapter in the history of their union, their industry and their region.

The union’s narrow approval of the Boeing contract extension was tough but necessary, for its economic future and for the region’s, wrote The Seattle Times’ editorial board soon after the vote. A 777X built in Everett translates to an estimated 20,000 jobs at Boeing and its suppliers, worth $20 billion in economic activity. For perspective, consider how 21 states had salivated to win the 777X competition.

Letters and emails flew in over the weekend, many questioning the deal and Boeing’s motives. The best reader submissions are below. Continue the conversation in the comments section.

A few questions about the contract deal

Now that Boeing workers have finally agreed, after much arm-twisting by meddling public officials and know-it-all paper pundits, to give away a decent pension [“Machinists invest in aerospace future,” Opinion, Jan. 6], I have a few questions:

• Since Boeing already has large pieces of every airplane built offshore by labor that is at least as expensive as it is here, what exactly have we saved for the Seattle area?

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

December 27, 2013 at 7:00 AM

A song about the Boeing 777X: ‘I Am Changing My Name To Boeing’

I received this reader adaption by from Derek Whipple of the song “I Am Changing My Name To Chrysler,” originally by Tom Paxton. Check out Arlo Guthrie’s adaption of the original from Farm Aid in 2008 in the embedded video player above to get an idea what the tune sounds like.

‘I Am Changing My Name To Boeing’

Oh the value of our pensions are shrinking out of sight,

And corporate welfare is the modern era’s blight,

What the contract used to get us,

Now won’t buy a head of lettuce,

No, the corporate policies aren’t right.

But amid the clouds we spot a shining ray,

We can even glimpse a new and better way,

And we’ve devised a plan of action,

Worked it out the last fraction,

And the union’s going into action here today.

We are changing our name to Boeing,

We are massing down in Olympia, by bus,

We will tell Gov’nor Jay Inslee,

What he did for McNerney Jr. will be perfectly acceptable to us.

We are changing our name to Boeing,

We are heading for that great receiving line,

So when they hand 8.7 million grand out,

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0 Comments | More in Boeing | Topics: 777X, Boeing, Jay Inslee

December 24, 2013 at 7:31 AM

Boeing 777X: Movement on a contract vote

IAM Union member Bert Groom (cq) gets his picture taken with his ballot during voting at the Renton Union Hall for IAM District 751 on Wednesday, November 13, 2013. Machinists district-wide are weighing in on a crucial vote on Boeing's latest contract extension that includes jobs for the 777 aircraft (John Lok / The Seattle Times).

IAM member Bert Groom gets his picture taken with his ballot during voting at the Renton Union Hall for IAM District 751 on Nov. 13 (John Lok / The Seattle Times).

There was movement over the weekend on a Boeing contract vote related to 777X production. The top leadership of the Machinists, known within the union as “the International,” has ordered a vote on Boeing’s contract offer on Jan. 3, despite strong opposition from the local Machinists leadership. Boeing has said it would build the 777X here if machinists approve the revised contract offer, which after 2016 replaces future growth in their pensions with a defined contribution retirement savings plan.

Boeing’s days in Washington state are numbered

Lots of people are upset at the Boeing Union members for voting down a contract that would secure jobs in the region for many years [“National union orders Boeing vote — Jan. 3,” page one, Dec. 22].

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

December 19, 2013 at 7:31 AM

Union members deserve a vote on Boeing’s new contract offer

First vote happened too fast and was based on emotion

Boeing machinists union member Kevin Flynn walks near a union hall in support of his leaders' rejection of Boeing's last contract offer as he waits for a small group of protesters who instead favor a vote, Wednesday, Dec. 18, in Everett, Wash. Local union leaders rejected the offer last week because they said it was too similar to one voted down last month. Some members say they want another chance to vote on a contract that would keep production of the new 777X in Washington. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Boeing machinists union member Kevin Flynn walks near a union hall in support of his leaders’ rejection of Boeing’s last contract offer as he waits for a small group of protesters who instead favor a vote, Wednesday, Dec. 18, in Everett, Wash. Local union leaders rejected the offer last week because they said it was too similar to one voted down last month. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The International Association of Machinists’ no-vote was short-fused and largely based on emotion. Union leadership is being urged to let the membership vote on the new Boeing contract offer [“Desperate for lift, Long Beach pitches a skilled workforce,” page one, Dec. 18].

My hope is that members will focus on the contract and on what a yes or no vote means for them and their union brothers and sisters. Emotional issues of Boeing management’s compensation, stock performance and profits are distractions. These are not contract issues.

If the 777X is built here, there is also a good case to continue to build future new airplane models here.

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0 Comments | More in Boeing | Topics: Boeing, IAM, International Association of Machinists

December 18, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Boeing and the Machinists: a proposed vote could change everything

Many of our letters this week have been in response to Boeing, the Machinists and a possible vote. Gov. Jay Inslee and Rep. Rick Larsen want the members of International Association of Machinists District Council 751 to have another vote on a revised contract from the company. This would allow union members to make up their own minds on the adequacy of the offer. Times columnist Lance Dickie agrees that the union members should vote and have the power to decide their own future.

Below our readers share their perspectives.

With record-breaking profits, Boeing should be the one to compromise

The issue between the Machinists and Boeing is getting to a point were there are no winners [“Maybe another 777X vote,” page one, Dec. 13].

The Machinists are split into two different sides themselves. A large number of the workers are happy with the current offer from the company and are willing to agree to the new contract in order to continue supporting their families.

The heads of the union, however, claim that the new contract is too similar to the old one and would let Boeing to find a new plant location sooner than agreed upon in the new contract. The union needs to get on the same page with its goals before it is too late and neither it nor Boeing gets what they are looking for.

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

December 17, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Boeing 777X vote

Legislators care more about business, not constituents

In this artist's concept provided by The Boeing Co. is the 777-9X, the largest of the aerospace company's new family of 777X jetliners. Boeing currently has more than a dozen states in competition from coast to coast offering property, billions of dollars of tax breaks, favorable labor deals and customized employee training hoping that Boeing will choose them to assemble its new 777X jetliner. (AP Photo/The Boeing Co.)

The Boeing Co. is the 777-9X, the largest of the aerospace company’s new family of 777X jetliners. Boeing currently has more than a dozen states in competition from coast to coast offering property, billions of dollars of tax breaks, favorable labor deals and customized employee training hoping that Boeing will choose them to assemble its new 777X jetliner. (AP Photo/The Boeing Co.)

In the article “Maybe another 777X vote” [page one, Dec. 13], many examples are given of state legislators who are urging Machinists into voting on the new contract Boeing is offering.

Gov. Jay Inslee in particular said that the vote should happen soon because he is concerned that Washington may lose the jobs brought by Boeing. This is despite union officials saying that the contract they’re being asked to vote on is too similar to the contract they rejected.

If it is clear that the people don’t want to accept the contract, why are so many legislators pushing for it? Have we gotten to a point where our elected officials care more about attracting big business than listening to their constituents?

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