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Friday, January 3, 2014

However the Machinists Vote Tonight, Remember: It Is Boeing Who Is the Villain

Posted by on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 12:04 PM

I may be wrong, but my sense is that tonight's Machinists vote will be a helluva lot closer than the first. I'd say a majority of machinists want to vote no, though fear of losing their jobs may dissuade a majority from doing so. This contract is better than the one they rejected, so should it be approved there's some legitimate face-saving to be found in that. But few people are going to be leaving the union hall tonight happy.

Still, I'd just like to remind our region's political and media elite that whatever happens tonight, this isn't about you! These are union workers voting to approve or reject a contract for their own jobs based on what they believe to be best for themselves and their families. And most importantly, if their jobs are ultimately moved out of state it is Boeing who is moving them, not the Machinists union! No doubt you hope that the Machinists accept this humiliating contract offer, because that is what you perceive to be best for you. But again, this is not about you. It's about them. So shut the fuck up with your anti-labor recriminations.

Just sayin'.


Comments (30) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
They are risking their own jobs to stand up for the future members of their union. Many union members offered these kind of two tier benefit plans sell their brothers and sisters down the river in a heartbeat.

The real laugh here is the elected officials that are pressuring them to accept a 401k instead of a defined benefit retirement have defined benefit retirement plans. When they enrolled in PERS I would like to see how may of these politicians opted for PERS III (401k) and how many opted for PERS II (defined benefit with 401k supplement).
Posted by wl on January 3, 2014 at 12:28 PM · Report this
By the way, elected officials in WA have to file a PDC F-1. I think that would disclose their 401k investments if any. It would be interesting to review these before interviewing them about what they are pushing the machinists to do.
Posted by wl on January 3, 2014 at 12:34 PM · Report this
The Boeing tax deal and contract offer has made it crystal clear to me how biased corporate news is in favor of Boeing and large corporations in general. The group-think that the media has adopted (and I know there are some exceptions but they are few and far between) is that the machinists are ungrateful, selfish and overly prideful. Washington state politicians give Boeing a HUGE tax break and the company turns around and screws over its workers. I don't really hear any in the media calling Boeing out for being amoral and greedy, just that the workers are already paid a lot of money so suck it up, greedheads and sign the contract. Because you need to take one for Washington State. Never mind that Boeing is already doing very well financially (and does not need the tax break or the contract giveaways) and that no one in executive management is being asked to give up anything. But we'll never hear that side of the story. Instead all I hear is that the workers need to shut the fuck up and be grateful the company just flipped them the bird while taking money out of their pocket.

And fuck the politicians (looking at you Jay Inslee) for being such obedient Boeing lap dogs. What a disgrace.
Posted by screed on January 3, 2014 at 12:50 PM · Report this
Boeing is obviously reacting to the $15/hr min wage that was recently passed.

As long as we're praising fools to write that Boeing is based in Seattle and Sawant can dictate the factory in a city she's not on the council of.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 3, 2014 at 1:10 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 5
I hope they vote no.
Good riddance to Boeing and its plague of a Union.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 3, 2014 at 1:20 PM · Report this
"moving out of state?" The 777X isn't being built anywhere yet; it's new work.

Machinists say yes means the state & region wins the work.
Machinists say no means some other place like Alabama gets the work.

It's not that hard. It's also entirely the choice of the workers.
Posted by hrmmm on January 3, 2014 at 1:22 PM · Report this
pdonahue 7
@4. You do know that the City of Tukwilla was created specifically for Boeing to build what ever they wanted, paying whatever taxes they saw fit? Didja think a socialist would ever get elected in a company town like Auburn or Everett?
Posted by pdonahue on January 3, 2014 at 1:35 PM · Report this
The CEO of Boeing is the representative of the company's shareholders. As such he has a moral obligation to maximize corporate profits by all legal means at his disposal. Vilifying Boeing for driving down worker's wages makes about as much sense as vilifying a criminal defense attorney for getting bad guys out of jail.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 3, 2014 at 1:53 PM · Report this
watchout5 9
The CEO of Boeing thinks the people who build airplanes really good are being paid too much to make tons of steel fly. What exactly does this CEO do that's more technically important to their company than making tons of steel fly?
Posted by watchout5 on January 3, 2014 at 1:57 PM · Report this
@7, so in a place finally made a state in 1889, and a city of Tukwila incorporated in 1908, you think Boeing founded the city ? Mr Boeing didn't even have a company until 1916.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 3, 2014 at 2:07 PM · Report this
thelyamhound 11
@8 - This is the crux of the problem with capitalism. The purpose of Boeing should be to design and build flying machines, unless they decide to make something else. Officers of Boeing should serve that end; shareholders should subsidize that end. Moving fictional "capital" from one desk to another should be a side-effect of any human endeavor, not its purpose. Unless, of course, you prefer civilization be run by impotent bean-counters.
Posted by thelyamhound on January 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM · Report this
@Moral obligation? WTF? He may have a 'legal obligation' but only a right wing tool or a sociopath would consider screwing over people a moral obligation. If returning money to investors is his #1 obligation why does he pay himself such a huge salary? And all the other executives? Because he's a greedy piece of shit and pretending that he has to screw over workers because 'investors' is BS plain and simple.
Posted by screed on January 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM · Report this
thelyamhound 13
Good point, @12. If depressing wages is part of his obligation (of whatever arbitrarily labelled sort), oughtn't his own compensation be on the table?

And another lower level (per Ahab): Are workers not de facto shareholders by virtue of their stake in the future of the comapny and their ongoing investment of time and labor into same? And oughtn't their shares to be somewhat privileged over those who have no direct hand in creating the product? And another lower level: Are the minicipalities where workers live and pay taxes not also shareholders?
Posted by thelyamhound on January 3, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
fletc3her 14
@8 What a load of crap. Go read Boeing's own governance documents. Even they don't believe in the absolutism you ascribe to them.

Yes, one goal is enhancing shareholder value, but it is supposed to be achieved in accord with the values of integrity, quality, customer satisfaction, people working together, a diverse and involved team, and good corporate citizenship.

Boeing's current actions turn a blind eye toward the need of its workers and toward the communities in which they do business. They are not living up to their own stated core values.
Posted by fletc3her on January 3, 2014 at 2:59 PM · Report this
@8 How are the delays and shoddy workmanship from North Carolina profitable? Besides being way behind schedule they have delamination problems caused by unskilled workers. When the 787 gets up to full production the Everett plant will more than double the production rate of the NC plant. Earnings are not just about reducing costs, earnings come from delivering a quality product on time. Most of the 787 delays are caused by integrating outsourced assemblies and unskilled right to work state employees. Both for Boeing and their subs.
Posted by wl on January 3, 2014 at 3:02 PM · Report this
If this story isn't about me, then it probably isn't about you either. So where is the interaction with the people it is about? Seriously, not a word spoken to any union member or Boeing suit? Nothing? How can a story that is not about you or me start with "I may" and continue with "I'd just like"? Jesus, get out of the office and away from your screen every once in a while.
Posted by Your just sayin' - but are you listenin'? on January 3, 2014 at 4:15 PM · Report this
MrBaker 17
@6, The choice of where to locate the work is entirely up to management. They fought hard for that right in prior labor contracts with the union. Don't take that role and responsibility away from them. Thanks.

The choice to force a vote in the middle of a current contract is also the choice of management.
They take it or leave it proposal came from management, and not the union.

Goldy, this might be the first thing you've written that I completely agree with.
But, if I were to guess, it will be a no vote.
There is a 20 to 25% of the union that, for whatever reason (common subject being corporate profits and executive compensation), votes no on every contract offer.

So, you are really looking at an up hill climb to close in from 30-something saying yes to 50+1 saying yes.
Not impossible, just looks unlikely.

Meanwhile, let's all pretend that this is the last airplane Boeing is ever going to produce.
It's likely the second to become a financial failure if completely built out of state.
Posted by MrBaker on January 3, 2014 at 4:32 PM · Report this
MrBaker 18
@15, it's South Carolina where Boeing threw good money after bad, not North Carolina.
Posted by MrBaker on January 3, 2014 at 4:34 PM · Report this
@11 Profit seeking corporations have proven the best mechanism for designing and building flying machines and many other useful gadgets. Were this not so, those godless commies would have won the Cold War and Lady Liberty would have been replaced w/ a giant statue of Lenin.

@12 Shareholders pay the CEO a lot of money because they want to hire the most cunning and most ruthless sociopath available to advance their interests. The better to exploit you with, my dear!
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 3, 2014 at 4:43 PM · Report this
thelyamhound 20
@19 - Profit as a motive is one thing. Profit as the sole or primary motive is rather like marriage for the sake of econimic benefit. Desire for the benefit is valid, but it's no substitute for the desire to create something or advance an idea (in the case of business) or for communion with another organism (in marriage).

Also, your assertion does not account for the craftsmanship of a Volvo or Volkswagen, or the success of the Japanese auto industry, or the (arguable, admittedly more subectively asserted) superiority of French or Japanese cinema.

Of course, failure to compete in a world where vision and meaning are still possible is preferable, in my mind, to a competitive but otherwise sterile, impotent work farm like the one you seem to idealize.
Posted by thelyamhound on January 3, 2014 at 6:51 PM · Report this
I agree, Goldy. I hope the machinists hold firm and vote "NO". Workers have fought for these benefits .

States have worked to dismantle unions. It is easier for BOEING to move because of this. Now, we have a bunch of manby pamby politicians and others telling courageous workers to vote "yes".

I'll stand with the workers and hope they hold firm to their convictions.

Frankly, I don't see BOEING leaving their workers, buildings etc.

Posted by Just Do It on January 3, 2014 at 7:18 PM · Report this
@20 You think Volvos, Volkswagens, Hondas, and Toyotas aren't built by for-profit corporations?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 3, 2014 at 8:03 PM · Report this
Catherwood 23
@22, come on, read what you're responding to. There's a difference between for-profit and for-profit-to-the-exclusion-of-everything-else. Boeing management seems to fall in that latter category (and, as other commenters have pointed out, in a very short-tem fashion: moving manufacturing to other locations has already produced delays and shoddy workmanship, both of which cut into the profit margin). Profit is fine, as long as the other goals, laid out by Boeing in their own governance documents, are also honored. Why are you having such a hard time with this completely obvious point?
Posted by Catherwood on January 3, 2014 at 9:09 PM · Report this
pg13 24
51% Yes.
Posted by pg13 on January 3, 2014 at 10:05 PM · Report this
venomlash 25
@19: Did for-profit companies send someone to space? They're just now starting to, piggybacking on technology developed by public funds decades ago.
Posted by venomlash on January 3, 2014 at 10:08 PM · Report this
@23 Honda and Toyota put a lot of there US manufacturing facilities in right to work states where labor costs are lower. Why shouldn't Boeing at least explore the possibility of doing the same thing?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 3, 2014 at 10:12 PM · Report this
I just heard machinists voted 51% for the contract.

My father was a union worker. Each time there was a threat, he and his colleagues stood together, and stood firm. This vote is a slap in the face to all that worked to ascertain labor protections. I'd tell you what he'd say about this vote, but I can't repeat the language.

The vote is an assault on worker protection and our democracy. As unions weaken, so does our democracy.
Posted by Just Wow on January 3, 2014 at 10:21 PM · Report this
@25 I don't take the position that for-profit corporations do everything better than government or non-profit private institutions. My position is that for-profit corporations do certain things a lot better than government and that a society that opts not to have for-profit corporations will suffer as a result.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 3, 2014 at 10:36 PM · Report this
Toyota and volvo dont build machines that carry 400 family members through the air at 500 mph and 30000 ft, you can pull a car over and fix it if there is a problem. People have become complacent to the fact that airplanes are not cars, they are life containing capsules that carry whole communities of people every time they take off.
To anyone who thinks otherwise, keep this in mind, a single microscopic scratch in an aluminum airframe over the life of an constantly flexing aircraft will become a full crack or seperation in that airframe which cannot be engineered out, thus, every scratch in and aircraft has the ability to crash the whole aircraft. Those who build the aircraft must do so with perfection and integrity for the sake of all of our lives, we now have a disgruntled unfocused workforce building these aircraft for the sake of corporate profits. Think about that when you hear that" weird" noise the next time you are on a boeing aircraft.
Posted by troutslayer on January 4, 2014 at 9:37 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 30
@28 - I assume you're being deliberately obtuse. Has anyone argued that we should do away with for-profit corporations? Certainly I haven't. I would suggest, however, that companies that prioritize the needs of the consumer; of the specialists who know how to address that need; and the of the workers who actualize, in whatever capacity, the fulfillment of that need better serve humanity than those who primarily serve, and most generously reward, shareholders and their advocates. In the end, what serves humanity will serve shareholders (assuming they can be trained to scale expectations to merely two, three, five, ten, twenty times the wealth of mere workers, artists, teachers, and other humans whose contributions to humanity can be counted as goods, services, and ideas).
Posted by thelyamhound on January 4, 2014 at 4:06 PM · Report this

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