Boeing Should Sell Its Renton and Everett Plants to China

Comments

1

"What should Washington state do under these circumstances?"

Charles, this piece might make some sense if you started off by explaining why you believe the state can start repurposing Boeing's assets.

2

Total Horse HOCKEY!
Boeing foot print in Renton, yeah that might go, its just final assembly. We used to walk out of those big hangers and look at all that Lake Washington waterfront and say 'fore'!
It would be the end of some great middle+ class incomes. Something Charles thinks isn't worth saving.
Nobody, Charles, is going to build low or middle class housing when the jobs are gone. Oh, but they will build maybe a 9 hole waterfront golf course and million dollar waterfront condos with a small civic airport already there.

Boeing has of thousands of employees making at least current middle class+ incomes with great benefits. Why would you want that to go away? Personally I would never fly on an aircraft made in China. Slave Labor!

3

And no, the Chinese would never build here and tolerate a IAM 751 Union.

4

Mr. Mudede paints a compelling scenario, with Boeing bailing out of the aircraft business before they succumb to unsustainable debt or are sued into oblivion, with the Everett and Renton real estate repurposed for much-needed lower and middle-income housing. Also, the Amazon FedEx acquisition is compelling, with today’s air transport having migrated toward freight, what with businesspeople choosing Skype over air travel in the name of health and safety. Amazon certainly has the cash to pull this off, and it would serve their shipping-oriented business strategy well. This may be the Puget Sound’s defining moment, whereby we transition from a co-dependent, taxpayer-abusive aviation based economy toward a computer-mercantilist economy, with Google, Microsoft and Amazon at the helm. Like the Seahawks trading Russell Wilson, who is plump and long of tooth, for someone younger and more consistent, like Patrick Mahomes, it may be time to wave sayonara to Boeing. The idea of a joint aircraft manufacturing agreement with China is another intriguing facet of the post-Boeing scenario. This recent spate of air disasters, as regrettable as they are, may point the way to a new era for the Puget Sound economy.

5

@4, No. These thousands of Boeing jobs are middle class and above, regular people some with just a high school degree making 6 figures with voluntary overtime. Most of them Union. And That's Bad? WTF are you thinking about?
Amazon would most likely not be interested in Renton. The infrastructure for moving cargo, especially from airports, is already well established elsewhere. Renton is in no position to handle that kind of air cargo for road, truck or rail movement.
You don't know what you're talking about.

6

@2,3
I hear ya. I've watched "American Factory" and the difference in living between the goal of US work situations (work to live) and the conditions imposed upon the Chinese working class (live to work) clash.
But I don't think Boeing is giving the Pacific Northwest much of a choice. We (and especially you, if you are in IAM 751) gave them the infrastructure and labor that created the profits they are using against us. We have to find an alternative to Boeing, and one that uses those facilities, product of your sweat, would be bettrt. Finding a way for those jobs to be better than crap would definitely be best.
I wonder if a Green New Deal could invest in the Everett facilities to make huge wind mill blades? (Weatherized like the ones in Wisconsin and Norway of course, not the crap in Texas.)

7

To add to my comment on 6: Right now longshore in Everett unload some of those turbine blades from China to send across the US. So we've already got rail and trucks to move them.

8

@6, 'We have to find an alternative to Boeing'.

Good Luck.

@7, No need to make those here, is there?

9

all kinds of Innovatey Green New Dealy shit gonna soon be coming Online what with the Fascist's vacating of the alt-Whitehouse -- why wait for Boeing to dismantle the factories -- put some of those Big-brainer types inside and see if they might be able to think of something...

& We Maximized Shareholder Value
will be writ large on Planet Earth's tombstone.

10

I love that right-wing jackass Jackkay is a Boeing defender! Somehow, that’s too perfect!

11

@9 kristofarian: That's fine with me, kris. We have been desperately needing a basic return to FDR's safety nets for the people, not corporations for decades-----at least 40 years ever since Ronald "Mr. Cue Card" Reagan's stubborn insistence on deregulating the banks and Wall $treet.
Now the trick is to get the blindsided poor working class Trumpist MAGAs to finally get it.

12

The guy is running out of gossip materials

13

I'm an aerospace consultant. I've worked with the csuite of many aerospace companies, including Boeing. This is the most poorly researched article I've seen in a while. For starters:

Boeing will have no aircraft to sell by 2025 - what? Aviation week's AWIN shows 4870 aircraft on order (note this includes aircraft boeing excludes in backlog due to asc 606 - take like 15% off due to this). Of this backlog, 1957 are due from 2026-2031. This also excludes any new orders from now to 2026....
Renton and everett are final assembly lines. The hard part of aircraft manufacturing is getting the aircraft certified and supporting it after it goes into production (mro). These plants wouldn't help comac with either of these
CFIUS - a 0% chance this deal would be approved by the us government
Demand will bounce back for air travel, and Boeings production capacity is needed. Aircraft manufacturing isn't something you can ramp overnight and airbus wouldn't be able to produce the amount of lift needed for the world post 2024 or 2025 without boeing. It takes years to plan, build, staff, and train a final assembly. See Boeing charleston as an example
Boeing can raise basically unlimited debt to fund new aircraft program. The government can and will bail Boeing out if they can't meet their interest payments as they are a critical company for the us (think of how many suppliers rely on boeing - spirit, triumph, ge aviation, senior, parker aerospace, etc etc).

Yes Boeing is in a tough spot now. But they will get through it. The only situation I see where boeing is in a reallllly bad spot is if the 737 max has another high profile incident in the next couple of years. If that happens, you could image Boeing selling the defense division for cash or use an off the shelf design for a 737 max replacement. But in no scenario, even the absolute worst case, will these sites ever be owned by china.

14

@13 you must be new to the Slog. Charles articles are never about research or facts they are a result of stream of conscious free assosiation and then usually sprinkled with implications of racism or impending economic disaster wrought by capitalism. They are to enjoy for their absurdity but should not be taken seriously.

15

@14 - Indeed. This is one of the worst.

16

@13: as @14, and @15 note, research is not Charles' strong point. His areas of expertise are chronic heavy day-drinking, and artistic pretentiousness. The former routinely produces hangovers of such awesomely scorching ferocity that he openly admitted he'd resorted to treating them via self-prescription of illegal opiates (https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/04/27/26108488/how-to-really-kill-a-hangover). The latter routinely produces columns like this one, complete with references to obscure Marxists ("the economist Mariana Mazzucato") to embellish his hipster cred. Neither should be confused with valuable knowledge. However, the latter is great for howlers:

"...Airbus, which is currently running circles around Boeing."

Airbus shut down the A340 line over a decade ago, after Boeing's 777 took away all of the A340's customers. Airbus recently delivered the last A380 -- the airplane Airbus had tried to get Boeing to co-develop, but which Boeing refused because there was no good business case for it. As Boeing wrested more and more of the profitable long-haul market segment away from Airbus, Airbus had to retreat to smaller aircraft.

"The company is also playing a key role in the demise of Boeing by selling Airbus an engine that's helped it split open the once uncrackable 100-passenger market."

A market they had both actually abandoned as unprofitable, and which Airbus re-entered via acquisition of the unprofitable Bombardier C-Series. Bombardier sold this unprofitable product line to Airbus for the same reason it sold the unprofitable CRJ product line to Mitsubishi: Bombardier is exiting the non-bizjet market, because (all together now) that market segment is not very profitable.

"The state buys or appropriates the production facilities in Renton and Everett and then offers grants to startups in the aviation sector that have credible (or even fantastic) business plans to revolutionize air travel in the age of global warming."

Aviation startups tend to set up shop in places like that already, but because of the runways, not the huge old buildings. Huge old buildings are liabilities, not assets.

"The experts explained to me that it would be better to just turn the Renton and Everett sites into affordable housing—and they were serious about this."

An idea so radical, much of Boeing's Renton site has long since been sold, and subsequently covered in high-density residences. (What did we say about Charles and research?)

"...startup for apps or software."

As opposed to all of those non-software apps Charles keeps buying, presumably as hangover cures? ;-)

17

Boeing provides significant support to military equipment. With China’s less than stellar record of keeping proprietary information proprietary, and their government’s hand in everything, I doubt off shoring to that country is a legit option.

18

No Charles, but... mmmmfff

Want some boing boing?

19

For decades, Boeing played Washington State taxpayers & received tens of BILLIONS in tax breaks. In return, Boeing promised a forever commitment to our state, with high-paying jobs & the prestige of the Boeing name — not to mention, tours of the 'World's Largest Building.' But it all began unraveling when top bean-counter execs from McDonnell Douglas came in to dismantle Boeing's labor force, and to enrich top brass & large equity holders like hedge funds.

The shit really hit the fan when Boeing's inbred board brought in GE-trained top execs, who grew up under the mantra of Neutron Jack Welch that prioritized 'shareholder value' (and not coincidentally, top exec compensation) above all else, and especially above employees, who were simply viewed as disposable pawns. Under Welch disciples, Boeing doubled down on its attacks on labor ...first by moving its HQ to Chicago under the pretense of the need to make travel to D.C. more convenient — really! The move was the first major volley in Boeing's attack on its unions, who had gotten just a bit to uppity for top execs who needed to fatten their own nests. Then came the disastrous move of 787 production to non-unionized South Carolina, where unskilled workers predictably produced subpar products that cost *billions" to fix.

At the same time, rather than rewarding its highly-skilled labor force & planning for that inevitable aviation rainy day, Boeing spent 3/4 of its free cash flow — $43.44 BILLION — on stock buybacks to juice its share price, again for the benefit of top shareholders like hedge funds & Boeing top execs. While these fat cats further enriched themselves, they were crying to the federal government for yet another bailout, as they were 'too big to fail.' In their shady nefariousness, these GE-bred scam artists were right, and they got away with it.

Now it's time for Washington State to stand up to Boeing's Babushka of Bullshit, and act boldly as Charles suggests. Whatever cigars Boeing's top brass are smoking in their Chicago ivory tower, and whatever scotch they are sipping as they celebrate their own fattened bank accounts, we need to cut the final ties to these feral bastards. Good riddance to bad Jack Welch trash!

20

What a joke article. Not his first of course. Love how he claims it’s not crazy because he has some sources. “I can’t name the sources but they’re legit I swear”. Laughable if this is what he got out of them. Fun to think about I guess but not probable or based in reality. The $60 billion of debt came from investors who would disagree with this article. I’ll side with them. Moving 40% of the worlds commercial airplane production out of the Puget Sound won’t happen by 2025. Putting production of 6 787s a month in South Carolina took 10 years and they still can’t get it right. Serves you right if you’re going to The Stranger for business news or analysis though. Boeing is in trouble no doubt but you can ignore this prognostication.

21

Before Boeing acquired McDonald D.. they were more of a system engineering / innovation company. Many seriously talented engineers and S/w left in the mid 90's. As the days of manipulating stock prices to show artificial growth is over,the only thing to save good paying jobs is to shift back to real innovation and rethinking how we want to power our buildings and travel around earth and in theC stars. Not sure if the Boeing leadership has driven all the technical talent away however. Contray to Chucks assesment, neither Amazon or China give a hoot about a living wage or and China's stance on human rights are on full display. Seattle and US has to invest in real innovation not more automated warehouse to hock overproduced low quality crap. Simply building affordable homes with no jobs sounds like a dismal and defeatest existence.