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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Boeing Management Can Go Fuck Itself

Posted by on Sat, Feb 22, 2014 at 9:41 AM

... And so can the Seattle Times editorial board:

NO grumbling or muttering is allowed or appropriate. Lingering hard feelings over labor politics between Boeing and the Machinists union must yield to a golden reality.

First the extremely profitable Boeing extorted billions in additional tax breaks from the state at a time we're failing to meet a court order to adequately fund K-12 schools, and then it extorted humiliating contract concessions out of its union machinists—the source of the company's profits—at the threat of moving their jobs out of state. And "no grumbling or muttering is allowed or appropriate"...? You gotta be fucking kidding me!

Great. The jobs are staying in the region. Good for the workers. And good for Boeing, which won't lose money on planes built here the way it loses money on planes built in non-union South Carolina. But honestly, fuck 'em. Boeing management should have to work hard to win back the trust and loyalty of the best aerospace workforce in the world.

No, what would really be inappropriate here is silence. For it is the refusal to express righteous outrage at the outrageous that lays the groundwork for its repetition.


Comments (51) RSS

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Wouldn't it be great if Inslee were discretely having discussions with Airbus about the talent we have here?
Posted by jcricket, the original on February 22, 2014 at 9:50 AM · Report this
The machinists aren't the source of Boeing profits. The sale of airplanes to customers who believe them to be a good investment is the source of Boeing profits.

And the reason customers believe them a good investment? That would be good management of resources creating among the best airframes in the world, despite whiny lazy union goldbrickers.
Posted by Seattleblues on February 22, 2014 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Increasing corporate profits and stagnant wages is the way of the world nowadays. Boeing management isn't being especially ruthless or vindictive, they're just going w/ the flow.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 22, 2014 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Goldy 4
@2 So you're saying that labor doesn't actually create wealth?
Posted by Goldy on February 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM · Report this
@2 Not only is SB an expert on mammalian sexuality, he knows all about supply chain management as well. Is he a renaissance man or what?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM · Report this
Rujax! 6

Neoliberal asshole.
Posted by Rujax! on February 22, 2014 at 10:12 AM · Report this
So how is this surprising?

Boeing's subsidiaires, "Extreme Rendition Airlines" (Jeppeseon Dataplan) and Narus have so much blood on their hands, have been so involved in the kidnapping, torture and death of innocents, that any thought that Boeing is anything other than a criminal organization are ludicrous!

Posted by sgt_doom on February 22, 2014 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 8
Seattleblues can't handle the truth, which is that without employees, businesses are NOTHING. His included.

You really did not build that. Labor did.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 22, 2014 at 10:42 AM · Report this
The best thing for this region would be if Boeing and Microsoft picked up and relocated to Mumbai and Shanghai.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 22, 2014 at 11:02 AM · Report this
@8 Everyone agrees that labor is one of the inputs needed to produce a finished product. The question is whether the pay Boeing machinist receive is disproportionate to the value that they add.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 22, 2014 at 11:09 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 11
Are we ignoring the role the Democratic politicians played in the whole shenanigans, publicly interfering with the union vote and giving Boeing all these tax breaks. It takes two to tango.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on February 22, 2014 at 11:15 AM · Report this
MrBaker 12
@2, some customers insisted that their 787 airplanes were to be made in Everett, only.

You have no idea of what you are talking about, none.
Posted by MrBaker on February 22, 2014 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Rujax! 13
@11...yeah, fuckwad, the Republicans were (are/would be/will be) better.

Grow up.
Posted by Rujax! on February 22, 2014 at 11:42 AM · Report this
MrBaker 14
A newspaper telling people to shut up is just offensive.

Take away the Seattle Times tax break.
Posted by MrBaker on February 22, 2014 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Rujax! 15
Yeah. the brain surgeons at Boeing:

The Dreamliner was supposed to become famous for its revolutionary design. Instead, it’s become an object lesson in how not to build an airplane.

To understand why, you need to go back to 1997, when Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas. Technically, Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas. But, as Richard Aboulafia, a noted industry analyst with the Teal Group, told me, “McDonnell Douglas in effect acquired Boeing with Boeing’s money.” McDonnell Douglas executives became key players in the new company, and the McDonnell Douglas culture, averse to risk and obsessed with cost-cutting, weakened Boeing’s historical commitment to making big investments in new products. Aboulafia says, “After the merger, there was a real battle over the future of the company, between the engineers and the finance and sales guys.” The nerds may have been running the show in Silicon Valley, but at Boeing they were increasingly marginalized by the bean counters.…
Posted by Rujax! on February 22, 2014 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 16
@15: Fascinating. Thanks for that link.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 22, 2014 at 12:01 PM · Report this

There has been one and only one major problem with the 787.


Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 22, 2014 at 12:09 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 18
@13 You, fuckwad, miss my point.

Your elected Democratic governors, state legislators, including the newly elected Seattle mayor, all played a huge role in this. Claiming that you're a fucking progressive while electing these anti-worker asshats into office is delusional at best, but it's far more likely that you're a fucking hypocrite.

Grow up indeed.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on February 22, 2014 at 12:17 PM · Report this
Rujax! 19

Clearly the Dems caved...they're catching shit for it. But last time I looked, Republicans wanted to make Washington another "right-to-work" state, and they have even more nefarious plans in the that what you want? Get out and work for more public participation, better Democrats (or Republicans...good luck...), public financing of political campaigns and limits on who can lobby and how much they can spend if you want change. But all you want to do is bitch.

Your cynical asshole schtick gets nobody anywhere.

Posted by Rujax! on February 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM · Report this
Goldy 20
@17 You know that's not true. Boeing is spending millions having Everett workers fix Charlotte's mistakes. Meanwhile, much of the reason the 787 was so late was due to the inability of outsourced contractors to produce parts on time and at quality standards. The program has been a manufacturing disaster thanks to Boeing's efforts to do it on the cheap.
Posted by Goldy on February 22, 2014 at 12:55 PM · Report this
I think the bigger point of a news paper talking down to the people of the region is incredibly offensive, if not surprising.

I don't think the hardball way to solve this is making inquiries to airbus, its spinning off the talented workforce into a new industry. That's how this region became the aerospace region, no?

They have a fascinating exhibit at the MOHAI, Boeing was so successful in WA because of the death of the ship building industry. The surplus of out of work ship builders moved right into the production of light weight wood planes during WW2. Now, the infrastructure has stayed the same but the company has left. Sounds like a new aerospace industry is nascent. And what is the hottest selling aircraft in the world these days? It's not passenger planes. It's drones.
Posted by Thunderbird on February 22, 2014 at 1:19 PM · Report this
The crazy part is that the concessions from the machinists will have a very minor benefit to Boeing's bottom line. Machinist labor was reported to account for ~15% of a plane's total cost. When you compare that benefit to the risks associated with moving production, it doesn't make sense to seriously consider it. It appears the desire for concessions was personal to me.
Posted by drshort on February 22, 2014 at 1:24 PM · Report this
It's a negotiation. That's what collective bargaining is. Sometimes the union has the upper hand; sometimes the company does. In this case Boeing had all the cards (to mix metaphors).

I would expect Boeing to extract every concession it can from the union. And in the future, when the union is in a stronger position, it will do the same. If you believe in collective bargaining and vote to unionize you should understand that going in.
Posted by bigyaz on February 22, 2014 at 1:44 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 24
@19 Your two party schtick is insulting. All you want to do is re-elect the same asshats that have been selling Washington for the past 20 years. Try backing something other than Democrats for a change (and I'm not talking about Republicans).
Posted by TheMisanthrope on February 22, 2014 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Goldy 25
@23 The thing about collective bargaining (in fact, any bargaining) is that it doesn't have to be adversarial. A healthy workplace is one where management and labor work together toward a mutual goal. But you don't achieve that by disrespecting and humiliating workers the way Boeing did, just because, you know, they could.

Boeing may have shaved a little from their labor costs. But they lost a lot of good will in the process, and that can't possibly help workplace productivity.
Posted by Goldy on February 22, 2014 at 1:58 PM · Report this
"Wouldn't it be great if Inslee were discretely having discussions with Airbus about the talent we have here?"

I know you are stupid so I will use small words. You do know that Airbus is opening up a plant next year but in Alabama right? To build A320s! The reason they chose Alabama this because it's a right to work state and because they got huge tax breaks! And they will be directly competing with Boeings 737, the company's cash cow so you can bet Boeing is watching.

Also morons most of these tax breaks Boeing has received a tax breaks they already had in the past that simply being renewed. Not the Goldensteinenberg would be honest and tell you the truth.
Posted by Mercer island goy on February 22, 2014 at 2:37 PM · Report this
By the way the biggest tax break going guess is a break on sales tax on their aircraft. If you think an 8% sales tax on a $150 million aircraft doesn't hurt their competitiveness, you're probably an idiot who doesn't realize that Airbus is actually building aircraft in Alabama!
Posted by Sugar tits on February 22, 2014 at 3:05 PM · Report this

Here's some Economics 101 for your edification:

No workers to build the airplanes, no airplanes to sell. No airplanes to sell, no profit for the company.

Seriously, it's so simple even a child could understand these very basic concepts.

So, what's your excuse?

Posted by COMTE on February 22, 2014 at 3:13 PM · Report this

Sounds like Boeing screwed itself in Charleston by devaluing skilled work even more!

First, beginning last spring, Boeing let go most of Charleston’s temporary contract hires — experienced aviation workers hired from all over the U.S. to get the program up and running, many of them working as quality inspectors.…

Still those are performance problems due to load on the assembly line. Not an inherent structural problem with the 787 itself. Again, I know of no other problem but the battery where an inherent design flaw hobbled the plane.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 22, 2014 at 3:14 PM · Report this

Which makes the whole Tennessee VW unionization vote such a debacle. VW WANTS good relations with its U.S. employees, it WANTS them to be part of the decision-making process, because VW management has learned through long experience that this results in a better, more productive workforce. But, the right-leaning politicians in most southern states are so terrified over the prospect of workers actually having some say in what goes on in their own workplace, they're willing - and apparently quite able - to shoot themselves in both feet in order to maintain that status quo.

I guess Plantationism still runs deep down there...
Posted by COMTE on February 22, 2014 at 3:19 PM · Report this
@2: It sure is too bad they don't have non-union plants in a state like South Carolina who would be much harder workers and more competent because they're not propped up by a union. Then they could fix the fuckups of our lazy ass union workers.

Wait, what's that? That's exactly the OPPOSITE of how it went? But that would mean your lazy stereotyping of unionized workers was wrong, and they actually deserve their good pay... That can't be right...
Posted by Hanoumatoi on February 22, 2014 at 3:20 PM · Report this
#28 (and the rest of you)

Here's what I love about Libpacrasy.

Isn't the typical Boeing worker - the one who wants a 5 bedroom house in Snohomish, two duellie pickups, a Suburban, a '68 GTO and Skidoo -- the guy who you lambast night and day, isn't he the environmental nightmare that plagues your dream of 84 sqft apodment hosted bicyclists living 150 stories high, descending only to knosh on street food and join the daily Sawant protest rally? Now all of a sudden you want to fuel his gluttony with even fatter paychecks (so long as it ends up in the treasury budget for Demopublican Centrist infrastructure).
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 22, 2014 at 3:22 PM · Report this
By the way the biggest tax break Boeing gets is a break on sales tax on their aircraft. If you think an 8% sales tax on a $150 million aircraft doesn't hurt their competitiveness, you're probably an idiot who doesn't realize that Airbus is actually building aircraft in Alabama, a right to work state.
Posted by Sugartit on February 22, 2014 at 3:24 PM · Report this

Then evidentally, you haven't been close paying attention.

You are correct on one point: outsourcing per se wasn't the problem; Boeing has used subcontractors for decades. The problem was in HOW they utilized and managed (or more accurately MISSmanaged) their outsourcing process, as the article makes clear.
Posted by COMTE on February 22, 2014 at 3:27 PM · Report this

Nice Straw Man you got there, need a match?
Posted by COMTE on February 22, 2014 at 3:29 PM · Report this
MrBaker 36
@29, they underperformed after a buildup. Now, they need the temporary workers to overcome performance issues that didn't magically go away when Boeing purchased Vogt.

The incomplete sections are not coming from the newer final assembly building.
Posted by MrBaker on February 22, 2014 at 3:58 PM · Report this

Do you not understand the difference between the design itself and the way they assemble the design..what is called the design process?

But lets continue. What Boeing did is use supply chain management, a very standard thing in today's world. It's not outsourcing either -- where a company takes a very routine function and sends it to a low cost provider. This is high end work where both the brains and brawn is left up the the subcontract.

And according to the article they let individual subcontractors both build...and sometimes parts didn't match up. That is not an inherent design problem, but a communications (and quality) problem. Bottom line, this is a way of building things that probably will not change until we create 3D printers large enough to assembly an airliner. And who knows, that day may soon be upon us!

And truth be told, if you are talking about the design process and geographically shrinking the radius of the supply chain, then honestly it would not fall inside of Washington State's boundaries as well do not build or make any of the critical components here. We don't make engines, wings or fuselages. We are more like model airplane builders, people who get a box fuel of plastic parts and some glue (and even then the big pieces are already assembled) and put it together and spray paint it.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 22, 2014 at 3:59 PM · Report this
"Boeing Management Can Go Fuck Itself"

Pretty tough talk from someone who has never had to put his livelihood on the line and walk/cross a picket line.

Posted by CHROMA on February 22, 2014 at 4:13 PM · Report this
@25 I don't think the old Boeing pension system would have been sustainable in the long run. German industry has thrived in the age of globalization, in part, by keeping labor costs under control.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 22, 2014 at 5:36 PM · Report this
@39 because exec pay and dividends?

@10 by definition, in a capitalist system labor always receives less than the value the add since owners who contribute nothing extract profit from the fruits of the labor

And since you asked, proportionally, union workers will take home less of their production value through the life of this contract given that boeing's profits are forecasted to rise 5% annually, while union pay gets a 1% boost every other year. If these predictions hold that amounts to over 70% growth in boeing's profits and 6% growth in union pay after 10 years.

@24 thank you. Fuck these dems!
Posted by Upchuck on February 22, 2014 at 6:35 PM · Report this
@40 It was overly generous retirement plans for unionized workers, not lavish executive bonuses that sank General Motors. You can read more about that here:………
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 22, 2014 at 8:30 PM · Report this
spread your buttcheeks and shut the fuck up.
otherwise you won't get the 10 bucks we promised...
Posted by this ain't Deliverance. squealing is not appreciated on February 23, 2014 at 6:51 AM · Report this
@41 we're not talking about the auto workers, dipshit. Also Boeing currently runs a 20% profit margin (that's a lot). So this has nothing to do with any kind of fiscal needs for Boeing to stay viable and everthing to do with further expanding profits, exec pay, and dividends.
Posted by Upchuck on February 23, 2014 at 9:37 AM · Report this
@43 GM was profitable when it agreed to pay it's workers those generous retirement benefits.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 23, 2014 at 9:59 AM · Report this
@44 and then they started selling shitty cars that couldn't compete with the Japanese. But hey, go ahead and keep blaming the workers because, capitalism....
Posted by Upchuck on February 23, 2014 at 10:57 AM · Report this
@45 One of the reasons GM couldn't compete w/ the Japanese was that paying generous benefits to it's retired workers was adding about $2000 to the price of every car it produced. Eliminating it's workers pension plan was something Boeing had to do in order to have the flexibility to respond to changing market conditions in the future.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM · Report this
@15, is essentially correct,

But a more important question might be, "Who owns McDonnell Douglas?"

This is the lockstep, always ignored question.

The majority owner of McDonnell Douglas would be the Rockefeller family.

Wonder who the majority owner of Boeing would be today?

(Now, take a wild guess as to who the majority owner is of Intel and Apple? Not really fun to be so ignorant, now is it?)
Posted by sgt_doom on February 23, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Catherwood 48
Don't tell us, doomie, it's the Queen, right?
Posted by Catherwood on February 23, 2014 at 6:53 PM · Report this
@46 of course boeing needs to cut those prndions, because dipping into the 20% profit margin even one bit to adaquately fund pension obligations would be completely out of the question. Pull your fucking head out. Corporate profits and exec pay are at an all time high. When those go down i'll finally believe that workers really need a hair cut to save their company.
Posted by Upchuck on February 23, 2014 at 9:16 PM · Report this
Umm... Prndions = pensions. (And where the hell is spellcheck when I actually need it?!?)
Posted by Upchuck on February 23, 2014 at 9:17 PM · Report this
The bottom line here, folks, is that Boeing is making record profits and so are its executives. It's simple. Does Boeing really want to be leading this race to the bottom, where workers have no pensions and their rights are slowly, gradually eroded? That's what they're doing. They're big enough to control the market and they should be leaders in how they compensate their employees. Pensions, good wages and decent working conditions should be the rule, not the exception.
Posted by actualprogressive on February 24, 2014 at 11:27 AM · Report this

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