Boeing, IAM and No Strike

Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times has this story about the prospect of the IAM agreeing to a no-strike clause for Boeing.

The national head of the IAM is quoted as saying no way, no how. Although this is dismissed by an unidentified source as aggressive posturing by the national president, whether it is or isn’t, here’s an angle not covered in the story.

As readers know, there is fear in Washington State that Boeing will locate a second production line for the 787 outside Washington and that Charleston, SC, is the front-runner for this, particularly now that Boeing has agreed to buy the Vought Aircraft 787 facilities.

As we have previously pointed out, the Vought plant is represented by the IAM, albeit a different Local than that covering Boeing’s Seattle-area facilities. The Seattle IAM 751 local is very aggressive. The Vought Local is new and, at least for the moment, considered more willing to work with management (at Vought, at least) than 751. Or so the theory goes. (IAM 751 believes Boeing management is the problem, but we’ll not get into this argument.)

If Boeing insists on a no-strike clause for IAM 751, it’s only natural that Boeing will insist that there be a no-strike clause at Charleston, too. If IAM National won’t approve any such commitment, then what does this mean for the prospects of 787 Line 2 at Charleston–and does this elevate the prospects of San Antonio, TX, becoming to preferred site for Line 2?

2 Comments on “Boeing, IAM and No Strike

  1. This just goes to show how proactive Washington labor and political leaders need to be to keep Boeing in town. It’s understandable that the IAM would talk tough right now, but eventually they must realize that major concessions are the only way to keep Boeing here. Is Boeing bluffing? Have they already decided to leave? It doesn’t matter. The union needs to do all it can to keep the company in town. Otherwise, tens of thousands of Washington jobs will have been lost.

  2. I think it’s being overlooked that Boeing has yet to make a single proposal to it’s major union. I mean, if it want’s something, it needs to make an offer and start dealing right? Or are they stupid enough to expect the union to just come knocking at their door hat in hand?

    I think that there will be no deal, because there was never supposed to be one.

    Either the decison to move a second line has already been made, or this is just a big bluff aimed at the union, and a con job aimed at the taxpayers of Washington State.

    I tend to beleive the latter, if for no other reason that the costs of the move are nowhere near offset by the labor savings, and recent developments with customers balking at deposits and progress payments are going to result in a cash squeeze.

    Such a situation only remedied via debt offerings or issuance of new shares, both of which dilute the stock price, and hurt the shareholder, (unimportant to Diamond Jim McNerney and co) as well as the company executives who recieve compensation via stock grants and options ( of paramount importance).

    There is also no point in moving any part of a program that will most certainly be in an unrecoverable loss position over it’s entire current backlog.

    Essentially, the Union can’t do a thing either way except bluster. Boeing was first to reject binding arbitration publicly as a possible solution, and has made no inferance as to the possibility of re-opening the current contract for a length extention.

    The situation doesn’t even really rate the lable ‘stalemate’, that would imply impasse. There is no impasse without face to face negotiation/confrontation.

    This will be the case unless and until Boeing makes perfectly clear it’s want’s in precise terms, and has something to offer in return.

    Until then, there is nothing to be done. Except this idiotic game of intimidation and bluster by proxy (media/political). None of that is going to get anyone anywhere, except the shareholder who is going to get relieved of yet more of his equity for no good reason at all.

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