Boeing did Charleston to thwart union: news report, citing Boeing documents

In the first documentation to be revealed, Bloomberg News reports that Boeing did in fact establish the second 787 assembly line in Charleston (SC) to thwart the union–and, from Puget Sound’s perspective, locate the next new airplane in Charleston.

Assuming the Bloomberg reporting is correct in its interpretation–and there is no reason to assume otherwise–this completely belies the Boeing legal response to the NLRB that locating the assembly line in Charleston was all about economic incentives from local authorities.

The IAM 751 blog on the topic is here, bearing in mind that theirs is hardly an objective view.

40 Comments on “Boeing did Charleston to thwart union: news report, citing Boeing documents

  1. Boeing CEO Albaugh has a lot to answer for.

    When asked by a reporter why Boeing was adding a S.C. line, he said:

    “The overriding factor was not the business climate. And it was not the wages we are paying today. It was that we can’t afford to have a work stoppage every three years.”

    See: http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/09/quote-day-boeing-vs-nlrb

    Right there, he just admitted publicly that Boeing was going to SC to avoid the union.

    The law of the land states that it is illegal to do something like this. One can say that this should not be the law, but the fact of the matter is that it is. So, this gave the union all it needed to get the NLRB involved, and now Boeing has screwed itself.

    And it’s not as if Obama & Co have much discretion about this. You want them not to enforce this law? You don’t want the govt to be in the business of picking and choosing what law it enforces.

    This appears to be purely an error, and an unforced error at that, by Boeing management.

    • Obama does pick and chose which laws he will enforce. Remember the Black Panther thugs intimidating voters in Philly in 20008? Or how about the gun running scam he runs called “fast and furious”, where a US Boarder Patrol Agent was murdered with one of those guns given to Mexican drug loards.
      .
      Boeing has a right to conduct their business in any state in the US, including SC. The unions have no rights to future work.

      The reason why union membership in the US is only 11% of the entire workforce is because union demands for pay and benefits has and is closing businesses. The IAM th*gs are not content with 70% of the B-787 monthly production, 100% of the B-737NG, B-767, KC-46A, C-17A, F-15E, B-777, and B-747-8F/I monthly production……they want it all.

      Did you notice it was the union that released these “documents”? If Boeing did really build the SC plant to pi$$-off the IAM, so what?

      BTW, you need to read the “law of the land” before you spout out something like that. There are a lot of high paid lawyers, on both sides, that try to interpet the law, and 50% of them get it wrong!

      • Yo- top boom . Please take the time to read the NLRB complaint- No interpretation needed. Its like affirmative action. It is illegal to SAY “I did not hire you because you are ( too old, minority, female, etc ) even if its true. The way around is often used, companies do do it, refuse to hire, etc, but they NEVER admit it. The basids of the problem is that whatn Albaugh SAID, publicly, on video, without qualification or improper prompting IS specifically against the law

        try both

        Try

        http://www.iam751.org/pages/news/51911NLRBcomplaint.html

        http://www.nlrb.gov/node/1811

        Do your own ‘ due dilligence” regarding the ” law of the land “

  2. Boeing should have been honest at the outset. Being anti-union is not a crime, and the truth should be told about union costs.

    • Maybe there is the possibility to use the profits between the shareholders and employees and still run a successful business. Southwest and Spirit Aerosystems have done well.

  3. It is an obvious reality that companies site factories according to all business and employment conditions. The government already picks and chooses which laws to enforce. This time they picked on a company which can defend itself – and should.

  4. Actually, being anti-union can be a crime, depending on what you do because of your attitudes. Similarly, you can dislike Italians, or veterans or old people, but if you make business decisions on that basis AND SAY SO over and over again, that’s a crime, too.

    If an employee sues you for discrimination or misconduct and you threaten or intimidate the employee because of that and you say so, that’s a crime.

    For some reason, Boeing interprets free speech to mean the right to say anything they want to say, without limitation.

    • So, Sorscher, does that mean that when a union goes on strike, and creates vandelism, and violence, these are “law abiding citizens”? Just before they left Boeing for the 2008 strike, IAM members screwed up several airplanes then in production. In the more recent Vorizon strike, many union memebrs cut full phone service to several towns and cities in the NE US, including 911 service.

  5. IMHO (and I’m not a lawyer), the unions will have to show this will cause long-term harm. I don’t see that happening with the second plant, especially when Boeing ramps up production. There is more than enough work to go around. What could happen however is this might help the unions prevent Boeing from even thinking about building the next-generation B737 replacement outside of the Puget Sound area.

  6. AAA-mazing….. after many months of both sides bloviating, national news organizations are finally bothering to read the local news. Perhaps they found the super secret never before seen ( except by a few thousand locals ) video of Boeing miss-management Albaugh making specific comments about why Boeing went to Charleston. even some going back a few years

    1) Note date of this comment . . .But Boeing CEO Jim McNerney told the Seattle Times that “strikes happening every three or four years at Puget sound” were the real reason for the move – turning what had been a routine corporate decision into a potentially illegal act.

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/mobile/?type=story&id=2012034258

    2) The super secret video

    Although many union members believe that the decision to go to Charleston was made long before last fall’s final negotiations with the Machinists, Albaugh insisted it was not.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2011237525_albaughvideo.html

    Go to part two – about two minutes in ..
    part 2 about 2 minutes in . . .

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/flatpages/video/mediacenterbc3.html?bctid=/services/player/bcpid1509319618&bctid=69599747001

    albaugh suffered from foot in mouth disease.

    Either he was lieing when he spoke and clearly said it was not labor costs, local costs, etc, or he was telling the truth.

    While BA certainly had other legitimate reasons, retaliation for strikes is specifically a no-no.

    Boeing apparently wants to say- without saying it that he was lieing- or did not mean what he said.

    Keep in mind that McNearney is a GE wannabe in the mold of his earlier mentor jack welch, and harry stonecipher. Both know for their anti union mindset.

    And for the NLRB to suggest that a senior executive give a mea culpa speech to all employess is definitely a case worth pushing to the Supreme Court.

    What ME! Apologize !! Never !!!

  7. It is more likely that, over a medium time frame, and by a thousand cuts, Boeing ensures they STOP building airplanes in the Puget Sound area. That is what a rational company would do.

  8. The IAM only has a case because a union supporter is in the WH and has turned the NLRB over to union control.

  9. KC135TopBoom,
    I think you are off base in your comments/rant. Unions have a place in the workforce and they provide a source of highly trained employees working for Boeing. It is not as though these are people picked up off the street and are easily replaceable without considerable effort and expense. If management and the unions would work to create an environment where it is a win-win situation then everyone can succeed.

    It is just as easy to say management does not deserve to make $16 million (Albaugh)after presiding over a disasterous launch of 2 premier project(s). Saying unions are all bad is not reality either.

    Regardless, as I understand it, the law of the land states that you cannot move work from one location to another to punish a union. Boeing management (stupidly) put that down on the record. Now the lawyers are involved. Feelings get hurt, the well is poisoned, neither Boeing or the employees will end up in a positive situation.

    I think the best way out of this is to have Management and the Unions sit down WITHOUT the lawyers in a closed room and work on a big picture solution with some give and take. Everyone knows the duopoly is going to face threats in the future and that Boeing can’t price itself out of the industry. On the other hand, building modern aircraft is not like stamping out plastic widgets in a 3rd world country.

    • Mike – I agree that top boom is way off base. However- the union and boeing did sit down for months to try to reach an agreement- before the complaint was filed. The national media – both sides- has conflated the whole issue – and the political hacks from both sides have done only one thing consisently- which is to NOT otherwise read- publish- or make reasonable comments on the exact case before the NLRB and what the NLRB actually said.

      http://www.iam751.org/artwork/2011_04_20%20Complaint%20&%20Notice%20of%20Hearing.pdf

      The NLRB did NOT claim Boeing had to shut down or not complete the SC factory, or NOT move to SC or anywhere else.

      By the conduct described above in paragraph 6, Respondent has been
      interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights
      guaranteed in § 7 of the Act in violation of § 8(a)(1) of the Act.
      10.
      By the conduct described above in paragraphs 7 and 8, Respondent has
      been discriminating in regard to the hire or tenure or terms or conditions of employment
      of its employees, thereby discouraging membership in a labor organization in violation
      of §§ 8(a)(3) and (1) of the Act.
      11.
      By the conduct described above in paragraphs 6 through 10, Respondent
      has engaged in unfair labor practices affecting commerce within the meaning of §§ 2(6)
      and (7) of the Act.
      12.
      As part of the remedy for the unfair labor practices alleged herein, the
      Acting General Counsel seeks an Order requiring either that one of the high level
      officials of Respondent alleged to have committed the violations enumerated above in
      paragraph 6 read, or that a designated Board agent read in the presence of a high level
      Boeing official, any notice that issues in this matter, and requiring Respondent to
      broadcast such reading on Respondent’s intranet to all employees.

      13.
      (a) As part of the remedy for the unfair labor practices alleged above in
      paragraphs 7 and 8, the Acting General Counsel seeks an Order requiring Respondent
      to have the Unit operate its second line of 787 Dreamliner aircraft assembly production
      in the State of Washington, utilizing supply lines maintained by the Unit in the Seattle,
      Washington, and Portland, Oregon, area facilities.
      (b) Other than as set forth in paragraph 13(a) above, the relief
      requested by the Acting General Counsel does not seek to prohibit Respondent from
      making non-discriminatory decisions with respect to where work will be performed,
      including non-discriminatory decisions with respect to work at its North Charleston,
      South Carolina, facility.

      ++++

      at that time BA had already started its ‘ 2nd line” ” surge” line in Everett. And given the events and fiascoes on the 787 since, it should be obvious that that 2nd line will be around for a LONG time. Perhaps even morphing into initial production of the follow on models of the 7late7, only being built by experienced workers at least initially. It will take 3 to 5 years for SC to come up to speed on the current model, by which time initial work on the next version may well be in the que for the ‘ surge’ line.

      Sorry to derail the rants with a few facts that seem to have escaped the pundits, national news media, and more than a few posters on this board.

    • You definitely need worker organisation aka unions.
      What one doesn’t need imho is the current mob like setup of US unions.
      On the other hand one probably doesn’t need the current type of
      management found at the top of us corporations.

      Both in their ways are vintage remains of early industrialisation.
      Dinosaurs.

  10. KC135TopBoom :

    Obama does pick and chose which laws he will enforce. Remember the Black Panther thugs intimidating voters in Philly in 20008? Or how about the gun running scam he runs called “fast and furious”, where a US Boarder Patrol Agent was murdered with one of those guns given to Mexican drug loards.

    Knock it off. This forum is not about national politics of things of this nature. Any political discussion confined to the NLRB is permissible. This other stuff is not.

    Hamilton

  11. Addressing reliability of the supply of labor is a legitimate decision criteria for any expansion plan. Developing second sources for critical material and services is a common approach for risk mitigation.

    And increasing union employment in Puget Sound is hard to represent as retaliation.

    I think the union would have a case if Boeing moved existing work from Puget Sound to South Carolina that resulted in job losses in Puget Sound. Making the case that union employment increases are smaller than they might have been and are damaging to current employees is kind of weak.

    It might be damaging to the union and union leadership, but it is not damaging to union employees.

  12. No matter what the NLRB rules, and Boeing does expect to loose at the NLRB, appeals are handled by the Federal Courts System,which is not part of the Excutive Branch. Boeing has always felt they have a strong case to win on appeal. If Boeing wins the first round of appeals, I would guess the IAM would appeal to the next level, which will most likely by the US 9th Circuit Courts, which my guess will side with the union. That sets up the final appeal at the SCOTUS.

    In other words, this is going to take years to settle after the NLRB ruling. BTW, the guy hearing this case (Solomon) at the NLRB is biased towards the unions. Before he came to the NLRB on a reccess appointment, he was one of the top lawyers at the AFL-CIO.

  13. Any company can move to South Carolina, North Dakota, West Virginia or eastern Oregon, any time they want to – this is true before, during and after the NLRB complaint. Any businesses trying to move work would normally obey national, state, and local laws when doing so. Boeing’s very capable legal staff could easily guide Boeing to move work to South Carolina, or anywhere else – legally. They chose not to.

    Boeing executives repeatedly threatened workers in moving this work. Anyone in Washington State at the time will remember this clearly. When Boeing executives say the same thing 17 times for the record, they are speaking from prepared talking points, not making things up.

    In 2009, one State legislator actually introduced a bill, HB 2316, to prevent [Boeing] lobbyists from threatening legislators about moving aircraft manufacturing out of the state.

    This was not a goof-up.

    Lafe Solomon is a career employee at NLRB – he started there 41 years ago, left to attend law school, and is back ever since. He understands the law, which in this case is crystal clear. This is a classic textbook case of “runaway shop.” Any 2nd year law student can see that Boeing broke the law, and any competent labor lawyer could easily have explained to Boeing how to move the work, legally.

    • Did you read Mr. Solomon’s statement to the House oversite committee of 6/17/11? He correctly discribes himself as the “prosecuter” (not the judge) and also says he is protecting the Boeing employees in SC. He then goes into several NLRB and federal court cases, including the SCOTUS rulings.

      http://www.nlrb.gov/sites/default/files/documents/196/solomons_statement_to_oversight_committee.pdf

      He also says; “In the absence of a mutually acceptable settlement, however, both Boeing and the Machinists Union have a legal right to present their evidence and arguments in a trial and to have those issues be decided by the Board and federal courts.”

      It would appear, at least on the surface, the IAM violated Boeing’s rights here by publicly releasing any information contained in any documents from Boeing gained through the “discovery” process. I don’t know if Solomon authorized the public release of parts of the Boeing documents, or not. It would appear that his position as prosecuter would not allow him to give any such authorization.

      We don’t know what is contained within the documents, only the selected statements, that in my opinion were taken out of context.

      • . . “I don’t know if Solomon authorized the public release of parts of the Boeing documents, or not. It would appear that his position as prosecuter would not allow him to give any such authorization. . . .”

        I suggest you spend some time reading about the court system, and the news. The local judge assigned to the case a few weeks ago had to decide which kind and type of documents could be ‘ sealed” or redacted. Boeing wanted everything sealed. You can be absolutely sure that the IAM lawyers know the rules. Since the IAM released the documents, they would not risk being in contempt of court. Those documents were/ are part of the court/public record.

        IOW it was not up to Solomon …

      • …. Top Boom said . .”We don’t know what is contained within the documents, only the selected statements, that in my opinion were taken out of context.”

        Well, the documents were approved by the administrative law judge to be properly in the public domain despite BA objections. That is why the IAM released them – including redactions and also the IAM position…

        Project Gemini was the Boeing project name

        Read the released documents for yourself

        http://www.iam751.org/nlrb/Gemini.pdf

  14. Reference, the statement in the recently published internal Boeing documents, as follows:
    “Boeing Commercial Airplanes executives from Puget Sound
 considered Project Gemini, to establish a second 787 production line in Charlstone, S. C., to be the highest-risk option they studied, with the 
highest likelihood of failure and the most-serious consequences should failure
 occur. Even if successful, the cost of Project Gemini would have a longterm
“negative impact to 787 program profitability,” the executives warned!”

    If this statement is correct and I have no reason to believe it is not, than I 
strongly recommend that the Boeing Board of Directors and it’s shareholders 
seriously evaluate the competency of the present top members of Mc. Boeing
 Management and their successors, based on their failure to listen to the above strong advise NOT 
to open a second 787 production line is S. C. and expand their Puget Sound facilities instead!
    
Furthermore, that same Mc. Boeing Management and their successors, should be held accountable
 for their even greater failure to listen the advise of Dr. L.J. Hart-Smith, a 
former MDD Phantom Works scientist, who warned MDD Management against
 “OUTSOURCING” work on the DC-10/MD-11 program and also Boeing 
Management, after it purchased MDD in 1997, AGAINST OUTSOURCING of
 work on the 787 program, BEFORE this program was formally launched in
 2002!

    Both warnings from Dr. Hart-Smith, who was fired by Boeing when he persisted
 with his warnings, were based on the fact that excessive out-sourcing, which 
had already contributed to the demise of MDD, would cause the sub-contractors of the
 787 program to retain all the profits and pass on all of the cost-overruns to “the parent Co.,” Boeing!

    Why, after a three year delay and billions of dollars in additional in developing costs and penalty payments and based on the above, the McBoeing team is still in charge of the Co,, is a great mystery!


    • Actually- Rudy , With your background and experience, it is not a mystery, you are just being polite ;-PPP

      Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear – and also read ” Turbulence” regarding McBoeing.

      1) Change from ‘ family’ to “team” after the MDC buyout of Boeing.

      2) Footsteps of Neutron Jack welch and love for ‘ worker bees” See also Harry Stonecipher, McNearney.

      3) A federal judge in the late 90’s tagged John McDonnell as mendacious- caught lieing under oath as to why they closed down Tulsa and hosed many workers .
      So why is he still on Bored of Directionless ? He holds a major pile of stock. And ask Donald Douglas about how HE and many older workers were treated after he sold to McDonnnell cuz Douglas lost control of costs on the DC-9 and couldn’t meet payroll.

      4) The power point rangers beholden to a few Board members dont dare show the facts and real risks. Retaliation for non conformance is the order of the day-week-month. The Top dogs not only shoot the messenger- they bayonet the stretcher bearers..

      5) And lets not forget the great runout of the door in 1995, when to get money from the pension plans, etc, and trim the ‘costs”, they encouraged a few to bail out early- and then were surprised that 9500 or so senior types bailed. Within 2 years, Boeing had to shut down for a few weeks due to lack of common sense in implementing a new computer system.

      I’ll bet you believe as I do – Bill Boeing, and Bill Allen must be spinning in their graves.

  15. To raise the view over the table:
    Airbus and German Unions are in “discussion” over production expansion at XFW
    (or not) Airbus would like to expand, the unions would like to spread out work over time.

    A potential strike was waved around by the unions.
    Keep in mind that unions tend to dominate workforce (“Betriebsrat”) representation but
    they are not synonymous.

  16. An aviation industry without Boeing is almost unthinkable,and the defence industry would be sorely tested.
    That said, the current Boeing appears to stagger from one crisis to another.
    Boeing still have a team of excellent and dedicated engineers, but in my opinion they are seriously hampered by management direction.
    Both the 787 and 748 programmes have suffered from bad management, not bad engineering.
    Surely there must be a point before infinity where the huge costs of continuing poor management decisions will reach a limit where the shareholders will say “enough is enough”
    Just look at yesterdays share price!

    • Andrew you said …Surely there must be a point before infinity where the huge costs of continuing poor management decisions will reach a limit where the shareholders will say “enough is enough” . .

      Sounds like you believe the shareholders have the power or right to fire the responsible management.

      They do NOT. Never had the power or right.

      AT best, if enough complain via voting certain directors out, the PR effects **might** be enough to have the Board dismiss said persons

      as to ‘ firing’ anyone NOT on the board, shareholders do not have that option. That would be interfering with ” ordinary business”

      For example if you worked for Boeing, and you were caught lieing before a federal judge while under oath, and the judge said so specifically in the transcripts, you would probably be fired.

      But at Boeing. you get to remain on the Boeing Board of Directionless. Why ? Cuz you happen to be named John McDonnell

      And thats a fact- jack

      Boeings answer is ‘ that happened before we bought MDC’ – that answer is in writing, on behalf of the Board – and is a matter of public record with the SEC – resulting from my filing a shareholder proposal on Pension Choice in 2002-3 which did get about 8 percent of the votes….

  17. Dshuper, thank you for the compliment.

    Having joined Boeing at the start of the jet-age in 1956 and having proudly
    represented the Co. in five continents, the last 18 years of which in the
    “Lyon’s Den” and the heart of Airbus territory, Germany, it is with pain and
    sorrow to have observed the arrogance, incompetence and refusal by the
    top level Boeing management types, to face up to the reality of the very
    serious threat posed by Airbus, until it was too late!
    As an example, in 1981, I was called in by the VP of International Sales and
    admonished with the following words: “Rudy, we are sick and tired of all
    your warnings about Airbus, we have people in this Co, who are a hell of a
    lot smarter, more educated etc. etc, than you are, who are responsible to
    advise Boeing Management about Airbus, so we want you to stop writing
    any more memo’s warning about Airbus, OR ELSE!”

    I am in the process of finishing a book, based on my exciting experiences
    during the meteoric rise of Boeing from a non-entity in commercial aviation
    to the top, causing the demise of all three predominant commercial aircraft
    manufactures, who apparently suffered from the same “I am the greatest”
    syndrome as Boeing did subsequently, in spite of that very strong example
    of HOW NOT TO DOO IT!
    Provisionally, the book will be called “The Challenges of a Boeing Salesman,”
    for publication next year or 2013 at the latest.

    • Rudy, it look like there is an inbred arrogance among Boeing’s managers and workers alike, seemingly holding as the truth that if the “playingfield is level”, Boeing will always trump Airbus and will always bulid the better aircraft. IMO, holding such a view, in any line of business, is not sustainable for a company in the long run.

      Back in 2003, Bill Sweetman wrote a piece in Air & Space Magazine, on how Airbus got to be number one. Talking about arrogance……

      The Contender

      http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/cit-sweetman.html

      Today Airbus is thriving, but success was never a certainty. In 1974, Boeing vice president Jim Austin described the first Airbus product as “a typical government airplane. They’ll build a dozen or so and then go out of business.” Austin spoke from experience, and he was almost right.

      etween 1978 and 1985, the A300 and A310 sold as well as the 757 and 767, and Boeing became more concerned. In a 1985 presentation to visiting aviation reporters in Seattle, Boeing declared that Airbus would lose $18 billion by the early 1990s. “We’ve been very patient for the last 10 years,” said, on that same occasion, Boeing vice president Thomas Bacher of the prolonged trade dispute, “but now we’re getting more impatient. In fact, we’re getting very damn mad.” Publicly, European leaders pointed out that Boeing had received government support in the past—the company’s jetliner business had been founded on the back of Pentagon orders for bombers and tankers—and the company was still allowed to charge research and development work to the Pentagon.

      From the U.S. point of view, just because the subsidies were hard to find didn’t mean they weren’t there. Beteille and his colleagues were right: There was no way to make money with less than 30 percent of the market. Without subsidies, Airbus would never have reached that point and would eventually have disappeared—which would have been all right by Boeing’s Bacher. “Europe builds beautiful trains and systems like that,” he said in 1985. “I challenge the concept that everyone has to build everything.” If Airbus could not show a profit it should do the right thing and disappear.

    • RUDY – re the Airbus issue – in 2000-2001 I was one of a small team at SPEEA working to file a CVD petition against Airbus. After various delays ( as we later found out by Rudy DeLeon ) we were ready to file the week of Sept 11, 2001. For obvious reasons, we elected to delay filing. Again in Jan 2002, we were on the verge of filing, when a few secret meetings between Rudy De Leon and the SPEEA executive director wound up dropping the filing, without notice to the SPEEA council or even the Team. Part of the so called reason at that time was the lease arrangement being made for Tankers ( We of course dd not know at that time the underhanded, unethical, and later illegal games that were then in process ). It was my belief at that time- and still is- that despite all the hoorah- the real reason at that time was basic. I believe(d) that Boeing was in a bind. They were using one inflated price for basic 767 airframe on the lease program, and a much lower price for the same 767 basic airframe would have had to been divulged eventually as part of a CVD filing to a different government agency. As we later found out – there was such a price manipulation.

      Much- most of what I just said has been publically posted. When I raided the issue with the Boeing ethics group after the Sears Dryun fiasco, Boeing not only denied it, but cut of all communications , etc. Some of what they did is in a police filing- which I elected not to pursue due to certain other problems. I dont have the time at the moment- but later I’ll post links to what I have posted, and feel free to contact me. I hereby give ” leeham” authorization to give my email address to you if you want to follow up

      Don

      • . . .As an example, in 1981, I was called in by the VP of International Sales and
        admonished with the following words: “Rudy, we are sick and tired of all
        your warnings about Airbus, . . .

        A bit further note re Airbus and outsourcing. My good friend Dan Hartley ( whom you may have known – since passed away in March 2004 ) made a presentation to a Congressional committee in 1992- and was present in the GATT 92 (WTO) subsidy talks re what became Airbus . .

        http://www.fas.org/news/taiwan/1992/s920311-taiwan.htm

        . . .r. President, I ask to place the testimony of Mr. Daniel Hartley, president of the Seattle Professional Engineering Employees Association, and Larry Clarkson, vice president of the Boeing Co. that they delivered to the Joint Economic Committee last week in the Record at this point.

        The testimony follows:

        Statement of Mr. Daniel B. Hartley

        My name is Daniel B. (Dan) Hartley. I am an engineer . . . who has worked in the trenches of engineering for over 35 years. I speak from the viewpoint of the working engineer, one who has also been chosen by my peers for my position as President of the 46-year old Seattle Professional Engineering Employees Association (SPEEA). Although I work full time at Boeing, my views are my own and may or may not agree with any Boeing testimony. I am not trying to sell any particular product to the government. I am not requesting money. I’m not asking for some special favors. To me it seems like everyone who comes here is always saying how to cut the pie. We engineers want to tell how to make the pie bigger.

        SPEEA is the bargaining agent, the union, for 29,000 Boeing engineers, primarily in Seattle and the Puget Sound Area, but also in several other (but not all) Boeing locations around the country. We are far and away the largest concentration of engineers in the world, and also one of the largest independent local unions. We are the people who design the Boeing airplanes. Currently about 80% of us work on commercial airplanes, with the remainder working on government programs, space and military mostly. I wrestle with the problems of aerospace engineers daily.

        I address my union’s opposition to the McDonnell Douglas sale of the Douglas commercial aircraft manufacturing operation to a Taiwanese consortium that will eventually be foreign controlled. The impact on the aerospace industry in our country will be irreversible, given our lack of any positive industrial policy.

        The issue is technology transfer that will quickly result in major job loss for many areas in our country. . . .

        Goes on . .

        Dan was also the mover on the 2000-2001 CVD issue mentioned earlier. Aviation High School was pushed by Dan- and they have a Scholarship fund named after him . . .

        And Al Mulally had very kind words about Dan in the then King County Journal when he passed on . .

        I’ll bet you knew him also ;-PP

  18. Actually, Boeing should have opened up the 2nd 787 line in Japan, wouldn’t have had to worry about the NLRB, have a high quality workforce, and no strikes.

    Boeing wanted to stay American but was very frustrated with the State of Washington and the IAM. They handled the PR horribly with this one, cite “Economic Factors”, “Favorable Business Climate”, not “Fear of Strikes”.

    Unions and Companies can work together, there are a lot that do. But by being militant the IAM and Boeing do not appear to ever establish a working relationship. When it comes time to decide where the next production line will be, it seems all but certain it will be in a Right to Work state that also won’t tie up the planning process to build the plant for years.

  19. Hope the two sides enjoy their pissing contest because in the the long run China is going to start building large airplanes for their ready-made domestic market. Then, at some point, they’ll start forcing foreign airlines to buy their planes in order to secure landing rights or some other economic benefit. Viola – a heavy-weight champion that will knock both Boeing and Airbus to the sidelines. Of course, the way Boeing management has been playing things it won’t take long before Airbus pulls away anyway. McBoeing sucks…

  20. I did not expect such a massive response to what I wrote about the very
    sad and avoidable reasons for Boeing’s loss of its hard-won pre-eminent
    position in thecommercial aircraft industry, but I am glad the see all of you
    agreeing with me, which will give me even more reasons to finish my book
    ASAP!
    OV-099, thank you for sharing a very interesting and accurate summery
    of the Airbus’ history! I also agree with you, that Tom Bacher, the BCA VP
    of International affairs and the man responsible for informing Boeing
    management about international strategies, carries a lot of the responsibility
    for “leading Boeing Management “up the garden path”, by quoting him in
    Jan. of 1981, when he addressed our annual Sales conferences and said:
    “I can guarantee you that the A310 will be THE airplane which will break
    Airbus, because we have bought up all the automatic riveting machines in
    the word, so Airbus going to be very late delivering the first A310 and will
    loose so much money on it, that the European tax payers will refuse to
    provide them with any more funds, forcing them to shut down,” or words
    to that affect.
    That was at a time when Airbus was already trying to decide wether to
    first build the A320 or the A330/340, as the next airplane in their growing
    inventory!
    That first all fly-by-wire commercial airplane, the A320 won, in spite of the
    fact that Lufthansa and all other European DC10-30 operators wanted to
    get rid of these a/p’s, after three of them crashed, due to cargo doors
    blowing out and thus the reason for them to prefer the A340 over the A320.

    That was a good decision by Airbus and bad one for Boeing, because the
    revolutionary A320 became the benchmark for all future Airbus aircraft to
    date, including the A380 and the forthcoming A350, with maximum com-
    monality in systems and every other aspect, providing airline operators
    with maximum savings in pilot training, spare part provisioning etc.!

    John Galt and NYC Dude,
    I agree, that if Boeing really wanted to move away from high cost labour
    and troubling Unions in the Seattle area, they should have opened a 2nd
    787 assembly plant in China, not Japan and matched the good-will already
    established by Airbus with their 2nd A320 assembly plant near Beijing, in
    spite of very strong opposition from European labor Unions!
    China will soon insist on aircraft-assembly work, in addition to the existing
    subassembly work and Airbus beat us to the punchline with this one.
    If China is going to replace Boeing and Airbus anyway, as you suggested,
    which I DO NOT believe will happen until the 2030’s at the earliest, than
    putting us on an even keel with Airbus at the starting line, will be helpful!
    No technology transfer involved in doing so!

    Fortunately, Boeing sold many 787s in China already, but keeping the
    A350 and the A380 out of China, will be a major task for Boeing in the
    not so distant future!

  21. I wonder if some of you ” Historians” could comment on the causes of the strikes at Boeing?

  22. What is happening to Boeing right now is very sad. Yet it is still one of the most admired company in the world. Even among the Airbus aficionados it is very easy to find many who equally love Boeing.

    One of the first tangible sign that Boeing was heading in a new direction was when the decision was made to transfer the headquarter to Chicago. It was like building an ivory tower away from the employees and the heritage of the company. It’s been ten years now and they are arguably the ten worst years in Boeing’s history.

    But regardless of where the headquarter is located, the heart and mind of the Boeing management should be with their employees. In my opinion the shareholders interests should give precedence to the employees interests. And the employees interests should give precedence to the customers interests. In other words the corporation should do everything possible to make the employees happy. And they, in return, should do the necessary sacrifice to satisfy the customers by delivering a quality product in a timely manner.

    What made Boeing such an icon over such a long period of time are the Boeing people. There always was a very special spirit at Boeing. That spirit must be preserved at all costs for Boeing to continue to thrive and be as successful as they have been in the past.

  23. Normand Hamel.
    I attended the annual Boeing Share-holders Meeting immediately prior to their
    Headquarters move to Chicago and suggested the following recommendation
    to the CEO, Mr Phil Condit, at that meeting, as follows:

    “Mr Chairman, I just returned from a visit to Holland, where I watched a TV
    interview with the retiring Chairman and CEO of Philips Electronics, a Co.
    three times as big as Boeing, very successfully managed to it’s greatness by
    Mr. Philips himself for many years, the retiring Chairman.
    During the interview he was asked what his biggest mistake had been during
    the many years he had managed Philips and he responded by saying:”
    “The biggest mistake I made, was to move our Headquarters from Eindhoven,
    where we started, to Amsterdam to be closer to financial/political centre of
    Holland!
    That was a huge mistake, because we lost the close relations we had with our
    people and even if we moved back today, we will never be able to re-establish
    the extremely valuable relations we had build up over many many years, which
    are now lost forever, after all, Holland is only some 500KM long and about
    300KM wide!”

    Very few of the Press folks precent during that B. S.Meeting followed up on
    my comments and I always wondered why, because it apparently could have
    made a very big difference if they had, but Phil Condit responded by saying:
    “Thank you for your comments, we have very carefully examined all aspects
    of a move (the meeting was before the Chicago choice had be announced)
    and we have decided to proceed with a move,” or words to that affect.

    Harvey.
    The answer to your question above is, in my opinion, strait forward and in line
    line with all the other Boeing management failures, i.e. incompetence and the
    lack of adequate management experience to understand that only the full re-
    cognition of an overall “Team-effort,” will avoid a costly strike for both the Co.
    and the employees BEFORE the negotiations come an end and NOT after-
    words!

    • Thank you for your comments Rudy. I appreciate first hand accounts like this one. But sadly it only confirms what I always thought: Irreparable damage was done by moving the headquarters to Chicago. The Boeing spirit I was talking about has never been the same thereafter.

      Any corporation, even the largest ones, have a soul. Unfortunately Boeing has lost it’s own by selling it to Wall Street.

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