Washington State wants Airbus business but this is a big oops

The Washington Aerospace Partnership is a state agency to promote aerospace in Washington.

We’ve written about WAP before, criticizing its membership as totally devoid of any industry representative–it’s all economic development commissions, chambers of commerce and bureaucrats. We think the absence of industry representation is a major defect.

This full page ad in The Seattle Times today illustrates the point. We’re sure our readers will spot why.

WAP Ad

Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times certainly did.

42 Comments on “Washington State wants Airbus business but this is a big oops

  1. ouch… ór is it so cleverly smart as to make Boeing realize it is replacable 😉

    • No, it’s a further indication that the vast majority of people, even those directly involved in the business, can’t tell the difference between the two manufacturers’ planes. We saw the same thing when the local senate candidate used clips of Airbus planes in her campaign advertisements.

      • The appropriate term is astounding Incompetence in the PR world, not just certain chicago corner offices in the morton Salt building

  2. Airbus won’t come with a FAL, it’s already in Alabama (much more convenient for AB with the time zone, port, etc). But who says major subassys or systems from suppliers cannot be made in WA…

    The hint was very subtle. Me like… wonder i Chigaco does, or if they even noticed…

    • And yes, big B is replaceable. Nothing is irreplaceable in the long run. Short run? Sure, but that is not the point.

    • Airbus choose Alabama for the states lower wage scales and dislike of unions, sort of what motivated Boeing to open up shop in South Carolina. I wonder how the unions in Europe will react if Airbus transfers more work from its members to the states?
      A few years ago BMW and Mercedes both choose southern states for assembly lines and GM moved several plants to Mexico, now the shift will continue in the aerospace industry.
      Some years ago Pratt & Whitney employees in the northeast went out on strike many times in a quest for higher and higher wages, more relaxed work rules, better health benefits and improved pensions. P&W has moved much of the manufacturing to other low wage states and many jobs were lost that could not be duplicated in terms of wages. So who lost? The employees, P&W keeps turning out jet engines and those high paying jobs are lost for ever.
      I think the Boeing workers made a big mistake, we are entering a new era and a new normal. Pensions are a thing of the past, health benefits cost employees more and work rules are being tightened to increase productivity. Better get used to it, its the future for most workers.

      • What motivated Boeing to set up shop in South Carolina was two “partners” that were performing poorly……Vought and Global Aeronautica selected South Carolina NOT Boeing

  3. Cant make this stuff up – at least they didn’t use a A-350 or 380.

    Or perhaps a Lockheed 1011 tristar

    ” All jets look alike ” so whats the big deal

  4. I spotted it, there’s an aeroplane in the picture. Since the article is all about spending billions on a roads, the picture was supposed to be a Peugeot Citroen D21 cruising along the 520 bridge.

    • Good one. Darn anti-tax Norquist Republicans have made the business environment intolerable.

    • Would Americans know the difference between a Citroen DS and an Airplane.;-?
      ( Cue: “Phantomas” movies )

      • An in depth comparison between the US unions at Boeing and the European counterparts would be very interesting! Any journalists out there who would like to pick that up? It would answer questions like are the WA unions at Boeing pushing it to far, or are the things they demand in line with what their counter parts demand and want.

        From afar (Amsterdam) I always looked at the French unions as ‘trigger’ happy for long strikes. But my gut feeling is that their US counter parts have beaten them to it the last 5 years. A lot happened at Airbus, huge divestments, cost cuts and outsourcing to China and the US. But the unions remained fairly quiet as if they understood that changes were a nescecary evil for the greater good of the company and therefor their members.

        As mentioned before a objective comparison would be a truely value adding.

        • the problem is getting an objective comparison is near impossible since any outsider is unlikely to know all the factors involved in-from both sides compared to the ” press’ versions- which are not privy to the internal working of either the unions or the companies nor are they likely to be sufficiently conversant with the real details of the offers/counteroffers of pensions and benefits. The closest one MIGHT come would be a ‘ school’ survey of both plus an expert analysis of the issues – and that AFTER the facts.

          I can think of a simple example of the problem only cuz I’ve studied the pension issues for a long time and have dealt with both sides as a participant and retiree. In the case of BA and the unions , the typical announcement of a pension increase of xx% when referring to the XX$/year of service is found always in the company PR. Yet in FACT, a significant percentage of the retirees in both SPEEA and IAM retire under the alternate formula for which there has been NO change in over 3 decades. The company is obligated to give the highest number. To make it even more confusing to an outsider- few know that buried in the legal plan documents is a provision that gives those who go from company employee to full time union employee get up to 10 years of additional company service under the basic benefit. ( if rthey work for the union local or natiional for 10 years ) So the advertised XX% gain during negotiations will always apply to the union ‘ staff ‘. And before someone jumps up and quotes the fed regulations which sppecifically say such benefit is illegal- they have to look further to find out about a specific exclusion for the issue I just mentioned. Even so, the company claims they do NOT have to publish that little gem in the documents publicaly available or handed out( by law) to all employees.

          Without such insight and access – an objective- factual view/comparison is impossible.

      • I agree Bob, would be interesting. My guesses are that a) contemporary FR, DE, GB, ES private sector unionism is generally not very confrontational whereas contemporary FR, DE, GB, ES public/monopoly sector unionism is. IAM751 is behaving like a public/monopoly union (and Boeing top management quite possibly like ‘government’); b) Airbus has been long supply chain and spread out from day 1 and all employees understand that, whereas Boeing is still evolving into something similar, which must be painful; c) its much easier for owners, managers and ‘shop floor’ to work together when their slice of pie is either growing or the biggest. There must be plenty of people still at Boeing who remember the day when they easily beat Airbus every year, be angry that this isn’t the case any more, and need to vent.

      • One could start with the differences in basic setup and how it fits into the host society system.
        IMHO commonalities don’t reach much beyond the naming “(worker) Union”
        and that union leadership tends to have some affinity to corruption 😉

      • Agreed Bob re comparison. Would be good. Anyway my 3 guesses.
        1) BCA ‘shop floor’ workers/unions concerns about work going elsewhere (from some of the comments posted in these forums at least some seem to see anywhere outside the PacNW as ‘foreign’, job wise) are understandable as generations have worked there, knowing it as a Seattle firm. Contrast Airbus which has been, and has been understood to be, multinational from day 1. Airbus simply doesn’t have BCA’s baggage.
        2) The French trigger happiness is their ‘public/monopoly’ unions. There is much less confrontation in contemporary ‘private/someone else might get this job’ unionism in FR, DE, GB, ES. IAM751 strikes me as behaving more like a ‘public/monopoly’ union and, I dare say, Boeing top level as more like ‘government’.
        3) Airbus also has the advantage of momentum (coming from nothing to its current position in little time), position (being #1 in order numbers most of this century) and confidence (A350 I vs XWB aside, it hasn’t dithered much) on its side, which must surely feed through to how the ‘shop floor’ feels about working there and with management.

  5. Do you think AIM 751 and SPEEA will be embarrassed that their names are on it?

    • The IAM possibly since the members touch the airplanes and a lot ot the staff are/were on the line at one time or another –

      Most of SPEEA staff wouldn’t know the difference

  6. Fantastic!!!! Actually fantastique!!! That is when the bear is walking over eggs, .even in nature a bit of “elegance ” is needed

  7. Don S. – Mentioned in another post that the Boeing Aristocracy should be aware of the old adage “that the customer is always right” in reference to Emirates telling them to build the 777X in U.S. I totally agree with this and if they are the business men they claim to be they will pay attention to the customer request.

    I also have another one to add to this that comes to mind “you pay with peanuts and you get monkeys”. The IAM is far from that currently but if management keeps it up that is what they will get. Seems like it (Boeing) has been headed in that direction for awhile now. For some reason it all started downhill in the 95 – 97 years and a specific set of bookends at the top of the aristocracy come to mind.

    Oh yes, just remember the 787 rollout / time period to first flight and you know the downhill slide I am speaking about. It is called leadership and it is lacking on all fronts. I wish Mr. Mc and his team the best hopefully they listened this time around. You never know that other builder may just show up in town one of these days if they keep it up.

    • “n S. – Mentioned in another post that the Boeing Aristocracy should be aware of the old adage “that the customer is always right” in reference to Emirates telling them to build the 777X in U.S.”

      There is a hitch to this.
      Customers usually describe their wishes and expectations in scope of what they have/know. i..e they lack the abstraction to express needs but will cloak it in a solution out of known elements.
      A good solution provider will have to backtrack/peel these wishes to expose what the customer “really” wants and then build from there with a wider scope of solution elements.

  8. LOL well, it does send a message alright. It’s about as subtle as a frying pan to the face, with similar comedic error potential.

    RE: the IAM 751, I learned from a few folks are machinists that apparently they would have voted “yes” “had they known the 777X would be launched soon.” I’m like … gee, what clues did you numbskulls miss? *sigh* This is why America is seen as a bunch of dummies. I know for a fact most are well meaning, but things like this really make me lose faith in American exceptionalism.

  9. Maybe they wanted to indicate that the pictured aircraft was build in a country where public spending for infrastructure is less a problem (while people have to pay lots of taxes and gas costs 7USD/gal).
    The final assembly line of the A319 (assumed it was build in Hamburg) can best be reached from the air or the sea, getting there on four wheels is challenge.

    • “The final assembly line of the A319 (assumed it was build in Hamburg) can best be reached from the air or the sea, getting there on four wheels is challenge.”

      Easy: turn off the A7 at Waltershof/Freihafen. Follow the signs to Finkenwerder/Cranz. Turn right into the parking lot when you can see a SuperGuppy on the same side 😉 Also the place has changed significantly. Still remember when they had to shoo a herd of sheep away from the runway for flight activity with the HFB 320 HansaJet or Noratlas.

      • You ever try doing that between 7 and 8 in the morning or between 4 and 6 in the evening Uwe?
        I always took the ferry from Teufelsbrück when I could!!

      • Once in the last couple of years driving my bedbound father around Hamburg for his birthday ( for the last time, he died 5 month later ).
        The Finkenwerder bypass took quite a couple of years to pass planning and getting built. ( now opened in Jan 2013 )

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  11. What everyone is missing is that Chicago Boeing couldn’t tell an Airbus from a Boeing jet anyway, so I am sure they are flattered (or were until someone let the cat out of the back but on the other hand they are so oblivious that they probably didn’t notice anyway)

    I mean really, you launch a major derivative and you don’t know where you are going to build it, how or by who?

    On the other hand, as Boeing Chicago flees Washington State, Airbus can take over the facilities and crank out more of the highly competitive and soon available A350s!.

    And for all the Dubai hoopla, the orders are not firm, Boeing Chicago has big time lost Japan (do you think ANA can wait for the 777X now?).

    You notice Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific are quiet. And not who also has A350 orders!

    A debacle of a ramp up on the 777x unless its built in Everett and ……….

  12. Interesting – earlier I posted my ” rant” regarding ‘outsiders’ like press …the typical announcement of a pension increase of xx% when referring to the XX$/year of service is found always in the company PR…..

    And lo and behold- the WSJ today in their editorial just proved the problems of the press and outsiders being near cluless as to details of pensions.
    extract from WSJ follows

    The Boeing Machinists Say No
    A case study of a union trading away jobs for retirement benefits.
    Updated Nov. 21, 2013 5:45 p.m. ET

    One reason for the decline of private union membership is that labor chiefs are willing to trade away jobs for retirement benefits. Witness the Boeing machinists in Seattle last week who shot down a contract that would guarantee 20,000 jobs, which might now take flight to more business-friendly destinations.

    ….Boeing’s eight-year contract offer included a 1% wage increase every other year starting in 2016 on top of annual cost-of-living increases. Pension accruals would be frozen, and traditional defined-benefit plans would be replaced with 401(k) accounts with a generous employer match.

    In return for these changes, Boeing offered to sweeten the basic pension benefit multiplier to $95 per month from $85, yielding an additional $2,400 annually for a new retiree with 20 years of service. Upon approving the contract, workers would also receive a $10,000 signing bonus and an effective job guarantee for the next two decades.
    ++++

    OK that calculation is totally wrong and misleading – here is why
    The existing contract – extension can be found at
    http://www.iam751.org/pages/xzIAM-BOEING%20CBA%20with%20LOUs.pdf
    and in pertinent part says

    Effective January 1, 2013, the Basic Benefit will be increased to $85.00 per month for all years of Credited Service for employees on the active payroll, or those on an authorized period of absence on or after January 1, 2013 (including those who retire from the employ of the Company on January 1, 2013).
    Effective January 1, 2014, the Basic Benefit will be increased to $87.00 per month for all years of Credited Service for employees on the active payroll, or those on an authorized period of absence on or after January 1, 2014 (including those who retire from the employ of the Company on January 1, 2014).

    Effective January, 1, 2015, the Basic Benefit will be increased to $89.00 per month for all years of Credited Service for employees on the active payroll, or those on an authorized period of absence on or after January 1, 2015 (including those who retire from the employ of the Company on January 1, 2015).
    Effective January 1, 2016, the Basic Benefit will be increased to $91.00 per month for all years of Credited Service for employees on the active payroll, or those on an authorized period of absence on or after January 1, 2016 (including those who retire from the employ of the Company on January 1, 2016).

    The ” proposal” claimed that on October 31, the basic benefit would be $95/month/year of service
    SO – the real change would be from $91/month on Jan 1, 2016 to $95/month In October 2016.

    And would ONLY affect those who retired AFTER Oct 31, 2016, and only an addition of $960/year for 20 years of service. Add to that most retire with say 30- 35 years of service at age 60 for full beneffits- Thats a tad different than the 2400 claimed as a sweetner by the WSJ. At 35 years of service the yearly honey would be $ 1680/ year.

    Add to that the total BS numbers published by IAM per the BA proposal re years of service, no mention of SS retirement age effects on SS, etc and IMO it proves my point that most outsiders and not a few insiders really understood just how bad the BA ” proposal ” really was. Those insiders ( members and probably staff who knew different were no doubt squelched by the ” International goons ” for reasons still difficult to understand.
    Scotts cluster**** comment seems to have described the GOOD points.

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