Blogs Oct 28, 2009 at 8:37 am




Thanks, 19th Century Guy, for sharing your always enlightened and nuanced perspective.
You would think a union representing an endangered species such as manufacturing jobs would know its' place and realize those "teeth" have long since decayed. What we have here is a vivid example of pride overruling the productivity of humility.
It is Reality.
Cold Hard Impartial Reality.
If you can find someone to do the job just as well (or better) for less cost that is where you will go.
China or Charleston.
It would be irresponsible of management NOT to do so.
Labor Unions are quite adept at extracting 'too good to be true' deals that, surprise!, turn out to be unsustainable.
Welcome South, Boeing.
Oh goody! I am sure the workers in South Carolina are just the most talented and brightest people that exist in the United States. Certainly the name South Carolina is synonymous with intellectual achievement.

Certainly myself and Rupert won't be flying in any jet built in the south.
@3 FTW

When are the fucking Boeing Unions going to learn? The writing was on the wall the MOMENT that South Carolina plant voted to de-unionize.

AT THAT MOMENT, union mgmt here in WA should have sent immediate communications to their minions that the entire game has changed and that they were now on the outside looking in...

Anything less would have been complete and utter irresponsible foolishness on the part of the Union.

I laughed out loud when I heard that the "union" was still trying to negotiate with Boeing. What is there to negotiate? Complete dissolvement of the local unions?

That is the only way this would have turned out favorably for Washington state.

Na na na naaaaa .... Na na na naaaaa... Hey hey hey...

It's almost like companies seek to minimize costs, while unions seek to maximize revenue for workers, and those two are often in conflict. I think you've hit on something here, Charles.

Boeing would be crazy and irresponsible to stay. It's unfortunate for the local economy but good for the country as a whole.
Don't let Brendan read this.
@7: a continued competitive downward cycle of compensation and benefits for skilled labor is not "good for the country as a whole". it's even bad for south carolinians in the long run. is sending boeing's next production line to, say, madras, or chengdu, going to be good for the planet as a whole?

Thank you, @9. Thank you.
@ 8. I read it, but decided to save my breath, for once. (For now!)
South Carolina workers are glad to get jobs unionized Washington workers turn their nose up at.
The 'wealth' gets spread around the country,
the country gets planes made for less and
those planes are more competitive in the world market,
South Carolina gets good jobs as a reward for being more competitive and willing to meet the needs of industry
and Washington gets a well-deserved kick in the nuts for being complacent, fat and greedy.
so, yeah-
"good for the country as a whole".
Seattle aerospace workers are the best plane builders in the world. Very similar to Detroit- the best auto builders in the world.... in the 60's.
I am sure that Cletus and his brother/father can build a fine jet down their in SC with their Jesus approved science and all!
@7 How is this good for the country as a whole?

Boeing will make more money. That is to say: The CEO's and upper management of Boeing will make more money.

The workers will make less money and that means they will spend less money in their hometowns.

The cost of the airplanes will not change. The cost of flying in one of the airplanes will not change.

Unions are dying.

America no longer leads the world in manufacturing.

Big businesses are the most powerful force in American culture and politics.

The middle class is shrinking.

Coincidences? No.
Anyone who thinks that this is good should take a pay cut.
Thanks this time goes to @16.
@13: and the baseline compensation package for skilled labor gets lowered FOR THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE. waht you see is a short term benefit to south carolina & boeing's bottom line (a policy of deliberate $ devaluation is already making the planes more competitive vs. airbus), & apparently some sort of deserved punishment to my home for what, the hubris to stand for living family wages?
@9 and @18 -

Despite your thanks from Charles, it is all just sour grapes.

In our economy, it is well known that change is a constant.

The problem with manufacturing like this is that it leaves the plant and workers planted like oak trees instead of willows. so when a storm of strong forces comes, which is going to be left standing, the mighty oak or the weeping willow?

The union's entrenched posture of strength, built over decades, reflects a losing strategy. Maybe it seemed like a good idea at one time, but now?

Yes, the SC plant will not last forever, but change agents there accept that and will try to get the benefits while they can. They too will try to "tie in" the workers to the next generation when the time comes, but for now, it looks like Washington's workers thought the company was more tied to their vendor (the union) then they really were.

Not being in either state or in the industry, I have no axe to grind here. This is just the way that it is. The union sold its labor short by not preparing them for the same kind of change your other local industry - high tech - embraces every single day as an opportunity, not a threat.
@16: Jeez, you make it sound as if our country's descent to Corporatocracy is a bad thing. Me? I can't wait for the upcoming inverted totalitarian state! I've always dreamed of being a serf and it appears I'll live long enough to have that privilage.
Oh, man, this screws everyone. Not just the Boeing families but the families of all their parts suppliers and coffee shops and grade school teachers.

This comes down to management decamping to Chicago. Since THEY don't have to suffer the consequences of moving to South Carolina -- living in South Carolina -- they no longer give a shit. And that "greatest workers in the world" argument doesn't mean anything anymore. We've proven that great workers can build defective airplanes here, too. But SC's got a hell of a learning curve coming up, if they think planes are as easy to assemble as crappy Saturns.
What kind of living wage does an unemployed laid off Boeing worker make?
So Boeing stays, pays union wages that the world marketplace has made untenable and goes out of business in a few years?
No thanks.
Seattle snobs say what you will, but Charleston is one gorgeous place to live.
South Carolina builds BMWs.
Alabama builds Mercedes-Benzs and Hondas.
Texas?- Toyota.

Hard to beat that German and Japanese engineering-
especially when it's manufactured down South!

Don't pout, though-
Seattle will still have (bankrupt) Starbucks!
@16 and @ 18 what a bunch of hypocrites-- you're wearing shirts made in vietnam your shoes are no longer made in maine your printers from hp are made in singapore and you drive a prius or a corolla or a honda. you buy fruit from chile. and you lecture others on the evils of capitalism which in fact has led to the very highest standards of living in the world and in the last 50 years ELEVATED Hong KOng Taiwan Singapore and Korea into the middle class of nation, taking them out of the third world, and which is today elevating CHina from total poverty onto a path of progress.

In all this history, the USA took over steel as a lower cost producer than Europe then lost it to China and Korea etc., the USA textile industry started in NEw England then moved south then moved abroad for lower cost producers, and this is repeated in every field....competition brings lower costs and yes, it helps society as a whole.

Now, it helps society as a whole EVEN MORE with social democrat policies and 50% taxation and reinvestment and education, etc. But at bottom the capitalist system of lowering costs of production works.

USed to be it was really expensive to start a fire. No on knew how to do it. When we learned, it spread, and yes the original priests who had the secret were chagrined to see fire starting methods spread to others and they lost their privileged position.

The whole world is capable of building computers, autos, steel, and yes airplanes, and some of the commenters above who carry prejudice against Southern workers are idiots. They build ships down there and believe me, the people of the Pacific Northwest have no super special magic genes that make them extra super special genius workers. While others have a learning curve, when you start out with a 50% wage advantage, you can afford that.

This is reality. All commenters accept it because they don't buy $2000 printers made in USA when they can buy $200 printers made in Singapore. But it sure feels good to deny it doesn't it?

The machinists need to agree right now to the no strike clause and to a ten year contract that keeps the jobs, end of story.
Oh so we're SEattle snobs, are we?

Well we've got our lovely rain and clouds nine months a hear, and over in South Carolina there isn't ANY nature to speak of, there's no great outdoors, and anyway did you know, we're close to the OCEAN and we even have beaches!! That's why we have SEAfair and SEAfirst and SEAttle we're by the sea and we have SEAfood!
the fact is that the south carolina workers are going to make a lot less, close to 12 or 14 bucks an hour. IAM would have to be stupid to give in. BOEING has been leaving since they moved to Chicago and while theyre at it they throw the ignorant anti union crowd a bone and say, its the union's fault.

when china trains its workforce and offers them 5 dollar an hour wages with no bathroom breaks than they'll go there and say fuck u to south carolina and their 14 an hour crowd.

they have been taking down unions since FDR and the genious of it is that blue collar workers vote for the politicians and neo cons that push this crap.

the old, this state is not business friendly is crap. this state has bent over for boeing, time and time again and they will leave,but they will also leave those poor southern states who are offering those wages.

empire at its finest.
Trying to unpack where the pervasive anti-labor sentiment in seattle comes from. Any ideas?
Boeing's new outsourcing business model has already proven catastrophic to the company. The company is LOSING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS for management's mistakes in the development of the 787. Building a duplicate 787 assembly line 3,000 miles away in South Carolina, where the cheaper less-experienced workforce has already contributed to 787 delays and losses, is Boeing management doubling-down on its bad bet.

Advice to shareholders: Get while the gettin's good. These knuckleheads in Chicago are killing this once-proud, once-profitable company.
Fnarf nails it. The execs packed up to Chicago, for no reason other than they LOATHED any chance of interacting with the union scum. And from there they can broker the death of Boeing (see #31, and others). Whatever, I live in an Airbus town now. (Hamburg, Germany). Fuck these idiots already. I used to love Boeing.
As a native South Carolinian in Seattle who's also a native Charlestonian, Charleston is different than most of South Carolina. I like to make fun of SC but I usually don't make that much fun of Charleston. Charleston needs either Boeing or a major industry to utilize the skill of the mechanical workers in that city. Currently there's Bausch. What many people don't know about that area is that since we have the Air Force in Charleston, many of the servicemen who work on base do a lot of repair on military aircraft there. So for Boeing, it's beneficial to have skilled workers retiring from the military who want to stay in Charleston working at the plant. Less money spent training them => more productivity out of their employees => good quality aircrafts being produced. The other great asset of having Boeing in Charleston is that the international port company no longer has a reason to leave Charleston if they have a Boeing as a major client.

Yes, I'm sorry Everett couldn't get it but quit striking all the fucking time. We're not the French.
30--I think the anti-labor sentiment comes from a vocal minority of privileged libertarian fuckwads, just like everywhere.

That, plus unions have been on the decline in this country for 30-40 years, except for the last year or two. They've had a lot of failures and people react negatively to that. Some unions brought some of it on themselves by being corrupt, undemocratic, or just incompetent.

What's needed in this situation is a takeover of unions by the rank-and-file, sweeping changes to union leadership to put workers instead of professional union managers in charge, followed by adoption of cross-industry, international, solidarity and sympathy strike tactics. Basically, they have to become radical and push changes in the law, rather than continuing to operate within a game rigged against their interests. Boeing's unions should be striking until the entire company is unionized everywhere, including in South Carolina. Right now they have nothing to lose.

Easy for me to say, since I'm not in a union job. But absent these tactics divide-and-conquer is going to eliminate every last decent union job in this country, and elsewhere.
Yay, RC, resident hard right wingnut has made another well informed, rational and mature observation. SLOG is a richer place for his insights.
Exporting the jobs only lengthened the manufacturing process and increased defects, resulting in delayed deliveries.

Boeing is fast approaching total meltdown.

(caveat - I own shares in a Brazilian airplane company that's really profitable and not anti-union)
@30: It's not just Seattle. American culture no longer respects people who work with their hands. Look at how UAW workers were treated when GM was bailed out, compared to how bankers were treated when their banks were bailed out.

This can't be good for the country long term. All you have to do is look at Iceland to see what happens to countries that don't make any tangible goods, and rely entirely on the financial services sector to power their economies.

As for Boeing, I think South Carolina is just a layover on the way to China.
Workers! Cast off you chains of freedom and embrace the liberty of serfdom! Freedom from decisions! Freedom from material goods! Weightloss from malnutrition awaits! De-unionize now!
Really we should nationalize industries like boeing. We have banks that are to big to fail, which is a form of nationalization. the same needs to be true for industrial complexs like boeing: to big to move.
@40: The bank bailouts were a form a nationalization carefully crafted to give the government virtually zero power over the banks we dumped money into. I wish we had really nationalized them. Instead the same idiots who created a mega-bubble are complaining about not getting paid enough.

Please wait...

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