Boeing wants incentives from both its home state and its employees for its just announced 777X project. Due to workers not agreeing to cuts in benefits, assembly will likely be done elsewhere, possibly even outside the US. Everett, Renton, and the entire state of Washington have helped build Boeing into the mighty global corporation they are today. Now in order to save some money, Boeing is considering moving to other states or even other countries for 777X assembly.
I found this article in the New York Times, and due to the focus being on the assembly of the next generation of the Boeing 777 (the so-called 777X), I found it intriguing. There already is an assembly line for the 787 in South Carolina. There were proposals to keep 777X work in Washington, but due to recent events, that may no longer happen.
There is much more to this situation than is featured in the article, or in my comments, but even this limited scope is rather provocative.
The full column is linked above, and some excerpts are quoted below.
Compensation for assembly workers decreases:
What Boeing wants is very simple: to pay the people who make its airplanes as little money as it can get away with. It needs to do this, we’re told, to stay competitive. It has all the leverage, because enough states — and countries — are willing to give it everything it asks for. Who wouldn’t want a gleaming factory stuffed with jet assemblers, a payroll guaranteed for a generation?
Good work if you can get it, but pay cuts are always difficult to swallow
The machinists didn’t ask for hefty pay raises or new benefits as a condition to keep the much-promoted 777X production in this region. They just wanted to preserve what they had — jobs that could pay up upward of $80,000 a year, with a guaranteed pension.
Despite multiple issues such as 787 problems, CEO compensation grows
Boeing is on a roll, its stock at a record high despite the troubled rollout of its 787 Dreamliner, and the pay of its C.E.O. boosted 20 percent to a package totaling $27.5 million last year. It is not impelled, as the auto industry was five years ago, in the midst of bailouts and cutbacks. Boeing could afford to be generous, or at least not onerous.
Boeing will likely leave their home state in search of cheaper labor costs:
In the wake of the machinists’ rebellion, Boeing is likely to move. “We’re left with no choice but to open the process competitively and pursue all options for the 777X,” said Boeing’s commercial airplanes C.E.O., Ray Conner, after the vote.
Washington offered incentives to keep Boeing assembly in state
The state agreed to subsidize Boeing to the tune of $500 million a year over 16 years. That’s twice what the state gives to the University of Washington, the region’s flagship college, long an elevator to the middle class.
What are your thoughts? Many of the 787 Dreamliner’s issues could be linked to the countless contractors for components being sourced from all over. Would you feel safe flying on an airplane assembled by less experienced workers or even outside the current most common aircraft manufacturers in North America, Western Europe and Brazil?