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Possible Boeing Move Worries Washington State

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EVERETT, Wash. — Riveters once ruled here, as Boeing airplanes rolled off the line and into the sky from giant factories where rivers of aluminum were pounded into form and function. And Boeing, founded in nearby Seattle in 1916 in the era of the Sopwith Camel, returned the favor, building up the Puget Sound region as a blue-collar powerhouse from the 1940s through the commercial jet age. Almost half of the company’s 171,000 employees still call Washington State home. (www.nytimes.com) עוד...

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lorenew
Loren Wilkinson 4
It's a two way street. Bite the hand that feeds you and your food bowl will eventually run dry. As was said some time ago - the last person to leave Seattle "please turn out the lights". That goes for Boeing too...
blake1023
blake1023 4
And they wonder why companies go overseas!
canuck44
canuck44 6
Reading the comments of the original article gives insight to the liberal mind. But then again this is the NY Times. Just reading the nonsense posted there will guarantee that Boeing picks a right to work state.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 3
Working 25 years and expecting to be paid for close to 60-70 years is not sustainable. It doesn't work for the public sector. Taxes can't be increased forever to keep up with ever-increasing pension payments for very young workers retiring earlier and earlier. It doesn't work for Boeing. Plane prices will not be able to keep up with increasing costs of defined benefit payments for workers that retire younger.
RRKen
Kenneth Schmidt 1
There are still places in the private sector that provide retirements for their employees based on what they earned. In fact, once they put in 30 years, and reach the age 60, they can take the full annuity as long as they live. The system is self funded, and unlike Social Security, is invested outside of the Treasury, which means it is in very good shape to meet the future.

I am not boasting here, but giving evidence that it can be done, and provides workers with a means of living after putting in his or her time. It develops loyalty, something sorely lacking in today's world.

That a company can commit to a benefit plan in one breath, then turn around and welch on that commitment in the next, is a very sad statement on Business today. Even worse is the fact that so many employers say they are investing in the retirement plan, and steal the money for something else. Why should an employee give a care when in fact, they have no idea if they will be able to provide for their family from one minute to the next? The motivation is nil. Some poor schlep puts in a major portion of their livelihood, to find out that not only the gold watch is gone, but their future as well.

I feel pity in some respect, that so many people today hired out with unethical companies who in the end do not care about their employees, and they end up living on margarine and crackers. But, you could have had better, and choose not to. Don't play the envy game with those who have what you want, or think is excessive. You made the choice.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Boeing isn't changing earlier promises. The proposed contract that was rejected only changed future benefits and wouldn't touch any previously vested benefits.

Boeing would NOT be reneging on their promises, if in the future, the weight of legacy payments destroys the financial solvency of the company, and the ability to meet their obligations.

It would be the stubborn refusal to deal with reality that would be ultimately responsible for the future inability to pay these obligations (whether on the part of management, union or workers).
zcolescott
Zachary Colescott 8
You would've thought a production line in South Carolina would've been their first clue. And I wouldn't say this is a 'bluff'...I think this is a very real possibility for Boeing with the new 777 line.
preacher1
preacher1 9
Some folks are hardheaded though Zach, and think that a company owes them a living instead of the other way around. Granted, it is nice to have a measure of security, but that street runs both ways. Folks talk about executive salary, but one on the line works from 8-5 and goes home. A lot of those executives sleep with that thing 24/7. You can't have it both ways.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
I would be among those that consider income disparity not ideal for society or the enterprises. When voting workers shouldn't be concerned about manager compensation. They should be concerned about their own jobs. A high-paying job with health insurance and defined-contribution pensions is way better than no job that no longer provides cadilac health insurance and no longer pays/contributes to a defined benefit pension, as either workers are laid off or the company closes because its' cost structure becomes no longer competitive in the increasing globalized commercial airliner market.

If the managers are successful in controlling future unwieldy costs that arise mostly from earlier priduction eras and save the company from an otherwise almost certain bankruptcy in the next couple decades (Detroit-style), the shareholders that don't lose all/most of their investment will almost certainly feel that the successful managers are earning their keep. I'm sure the shareholders sentiment will change if Boeing is someday forced into bankruptcy, as they'll lose their shirts.

As a worker I shouldn't expect future health insurance and pension benefits to survive intact after a future corporate bankruptcy (even while they vote against a long-term contract for continued employment).

Someday people will talk about last month's vote as a vote against their jobs, and the beginning of the end for many workers' jobs. It may take years --if not sooner, certainly by the time plants or assembly lines in the Puget sound begin shutting down (whenever the next down cycle in airplane building comes around).
zcolescott
Zachary Colescott 2
I understand completely. I'm attached to my airport 24/7/365. People think I'm joking when I tell them that I often work 8 days a week...
canuck44
canuck44 2
I agree with your previous prediction, Wayne. South Carolina has new room to build and is a right to work state with workers that rejected the union skim. The Japanese have lost any Boeing loyalty so don't be surprised if a new 777 plant along with repatriation of wing production for 777 and 787 is set up there as well.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, IDK, but I think it might be a done deal and all this other is just dog and pony. You'll notice that NONE of the states, TX/SC or Utah, where Boeing operates, have been public or vocal about a proposal. I don't know which state it will be but I have a feeling minds were made up and the RFP's were circulated just to see what else might be out there and give things a hint of fairness.
bishops90
Brian Bishop 1
Wayne there's been a fair amount of talk in the news here about trying to lure the 777X. Nothing specific in Dollars, but they're definitely talking. Whether we get it here or not remains to be seen.
BTW, I just got some work from the plant in O'burg that makes the split winglet "doo-hickeys"!
preacher1
preacher1 1
I'm interested in how them things work out. Me and Dude were talking the other day and are wondering if the fuel savings would justify the cost for a retrofit, if it were even possible.
skylloyd
skylloyd -2
For the employee's to accept the contract that was offered would have destroyed everything that was accomplished through union negotiations in the past years period. My daughter told me that it would have been better to go with obamacare than to take what Boeing offered.To work at Boeing without union protection is ceazy, I have seen how it works at Witchita, and I am not a union fanatic. Boeing is by name only, it was taken over 15-20 years ago by MickeyD, it is not the same company anymore. I could go on, but what the hay.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 3
Except in isolated pockets that are trying to hold onto the past, most employers have long ago changed their insurance plans to have employees share in the costs. Highly paid Boeing workers can easily afford a bit of cost sharing

It's the right thing to do to control costs and the best policy to align health care utilization with actual benefits and outcomes.


Defined contribution pensions are what most major employers' workers get (this with good jobs).

In fact, Boeing workers would be smart to not only get Boeing to switch to a defined contribution pension (as the rejected contract would've instituted) but also get Boeing to switch all/most pension obligations into contributions into employed retirement accounts over the next 10 years or so. Boeing can ve expected to have reasonably strong finances over the next decade, maybe two. But I would be worried to depend on the company's financial strength decades from now for a majority of income in retirement years.

Boeing's legacy workers are not so special that they should be exempt from long-term employment benefit trends. They deserve their high pay that reflects their experience and productivity. But insisting on a non-sustainable benefit structure is no way to guarantee a good job followed by stable pension payments.

Boeing workers shouldn't piss away their good jobs to fight against great benefits that most other workers with so-called good jobs have as standard benefits.

Most workers would love to have Boeing jobs with the generous pay and generous benefits that would be guaranteed in the rejected contract. It is possible to overplay a hand.

Boeing's greatest asset is its' workers. But insisting on an unsustainable cost structure will result in job loss, either before or after the company is destroyed.

Sadly, the reality may only sink in after the 777X work walks.
bishops90
Brian Bishop 4
Seattle may be the new Detroit if the Unions have their way.
pika1000
pika1000 1
Don't count out Oklahoma. The Spirit Aerosystems site is up for sale and from what I hear, the International Bus Plant is moving out soon. That would free up the mile long building at TUL as well as some other buildings to take on the work, on top of the 777 work Spirit already does for Boeing (as well as 747, 737/P-8A, and 787).
preacher1
preacher1 1
I hadn't heard that about the bus plant but it doesn't surprise me. IN/Navistar has been on the ropes for a while and their major plant at Conway AR is not running at full capacity. Their biggest mistake was to get away from building buses and try and get everyone to go with the IH/Navistar chassis and it just ain't working. That mile long bldg. at TUL used to be an MD factory. It would be good to see it back to it's original purpose. A big part, if not all, of AA's mad dog fleet was built there, best I remember.

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