Reaction to Boeing decision to put 787 in S.C.

Reaction to Boeing decision to put 787 in S.C.

Reaction to Boeing decision to put 787 in S.C.


by Staff

Posted on October 28, 2009 at 2:40 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 28 at 4:46 PM

IAM (Machinists) District 751 President Tom Wroblewski

“Boeing has betrayed our loyalty once again, walking away from our discussions just like they walked away from Seattle eight years ago to move to Chicago.

We tried very hard to reach an extended agreement with Boeing. We listened closely to what executives said, and suggested ideas to meet their needs. We offered concrete, real-world solutions.

But I can tell you now, no matter what Boeing says or implies, the truth is this: We did offer Boeing a 10-year contract, and even offered to go longer than that. And when we did, they seemed stunned, and stopped talking.

It was obvious to me that Boeing wasn’t really interested in working with us. They didn’t take our proposals seriously and they never offered any proposals of their own. Most of the time, they didn’t even take notes.


It’s now clear that Boeing was only using our talks as a smoke screen, and as a bargaining chip to extort a bigger tax handout from South Carolina.

I haven’t reported this before – not to our members and certainly not to the media -- because Boeing had asked for confidential talks. My word means something, so I said nothing, even while the company was leaking half-truths to reporters.

When our team asked Boeing if 10 years was going to be enough for them, they didn’t respond. And when I asked them to confirm that the extended contract would secure the second 787 line for Washington state, their reply was only: “Well, it would be helpful." But they would not commit to anything.

Still, we tried to get a deal, because I know that’s what our members and our community wanted. To do that, we were willing to discuss any issue to get a deal that we could recommend to our members. We floated ideas on health care costs, wages, pensions and lump sums.

None of this mattered to Boeing. They didn’t want solutions, but only a scapegoat.

Our seven-week strike last year is not the reason the 787 is already more than 120 weeks behind schedule.

Instead of investing in our shared future and a highly talented workforce in a region ideally suited for aerospace, Boeing has decided to double-down on its failed 787 strategy and place an ill-advised, billion-dollar bet on a strategy that’s a proven loser.”


Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire

"This is obviously a very disappointing day for all Washingtonians, particularly the more than 73,000 Boeing workers in our state. We did all we could to demonstrate that Washington is the best place in America to build airplanes. State and local government worked hand in hand with our capable Congressional delegation, business and community leaders, educators and countless others to show our collective support for locating the second 787 assembly line here.

"Unfortunately, the active and intense discussions between Boeing and the Machinists union did not result in an agreement acceptable to both sides. My colleagues in the Congressional delegation and I worked tirelessly to urge an agreement if at all possible; ultimately the two sides could not come together.

"We must keep in mind that the first and best 787s will be build right here. We have over 80,000 aerospace jobs in Washington, all of which are in a dynamic and highly competitive industry. There will be other competitions to come - the tanker is next and we intend to win. We cannot soften our resolve to stay as good as we can possibly be, in order to be ready for future competitions.

"We may not build every single Boeing aircraft in Washington, but Washington will continue to remain the home of the best workers building the best airplanes for the next 100 years.

"I want to thank our congressional delegation, local leaders and our regional and statewide business and labor communities for all of the work they put into this effort. This spirit will serve us well in future efforts to both grow our current companies and locate new businesses in Washington."

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

"This is a disappointing moment for our state and for Boeing customers.

"We had an opportunity today to take a step toward workforce stability and a win for Boeing, our workers, and the state of Washington. I am disappointed that Boeing cut off negotiations and passed on a final chance to make this happen.

"This state's workers, communities and elected officials have worked hand in hand with Boeing for nearly 100 years to build the best aerospace workforce and the best business environment possible.

"Even when they moved headquarters to Chicago, Boeing's Washington workforce remained dedicated to the quality product they make.

"Now, Boeing has decided to take their second 787 line to South Carolina. It's a shortsighted decision.

"Washington state has fought for Boeing from day one. The dedication and quality of product Washington state provides is not something you can build overnight. The passion and history of grandparents passing knowledge, know-how and skills to the next generation is not something that can be reflected on balance sheets.

"What the Company has neglected to account for is the quality and well-trained workforce that they already have in Everett.

"I don't take that workforce or that product for granted and neither does our state.

"There are over 80,000 good-paying aerospace jobs in the state of Washington. I will continue to work as I always have to invest in that workforce and in the infrastructure and economic development that will keep Washington state on the map as the world's aerospace capital for generations to come."

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. press release

"Senator Cantwell received a call at 4:30 p.m. today from Jim Albaugh, President of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, that a decision was to be announced moving the second line of the Boeing 787 to South Carolina and that production would not take place until 2013.

"Albaugh said this would mean no immediate jobs lost in Puget Sound and that ultimately it would produce more jobs in the Northwest.

"Senator Cantwell expressed concern and disappointment about the loss of a second line in Puget Sound. And she expressed concern about Boeing's continued business loss and the potential risk of starting up a second line in South Carolina, a state with limited aerospace engineering experience."

Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash.

"Washington State remains home to thousands of aerospace workers, including 22,000 Boeing employees in my district. We will continue to support them and the policies to sustain and grow, but I'm disappointed in today's announcement, and that union and labor management could not come together in agreement for their workers. This is a loss for both local job growth and our state's economy."

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.

"The best aerospace workers in the world are in the Pacific Northwest. To build the 787 anywhere else but in the Puget Sound region is a mistake.

"The Governor made a compelling case why the best place for Boeing to do business is right here in Washington state. Our state's large, highly skilled and adaptable workforce, attractive business climate, stable and sustainable government, strong education system, robust and funded infrastructure improvement plan and the highest quality of life of any competitor should have made this decision a slam dunk for Boeing.

"Instead, it was an air ball.

"It is now clear, if it wasn't before, that there weren't enough training facilities we could build, or a large enough B&O tax break we could give, to keep Boeing from moving their second line to South Carolina. The labor-management divide was just too wide to bridge.

"Despite today's announcement, the Pacific Northwest remains the center of the aerospace industry. I want to recognize the nearly 30,000 Boeing workers in my district who continue to build the best aerospace products in the world. I will continue my fight to maintain and bring new good-paying jobs to the 2nd District. 

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.

"I grieve today like I did when Boeing decided to move its headquarters out of the Northwest. Things have not gone well for them since. I hope this is not a sign for the future. Airplanes are built by human beings; airplanes are very complicated machines and people who understand how to build them are not developed overnight. The history of the 787 has already demonstrated the difficulties of production done in various locations. While I wish The Boeing Company well, let me be clear on one point: Nobody builds airplanes better than the Boeing employees in Seattle and across the Puget Sound Region, nobody." 

Rep. Cary Condotta, R-Wenatchee
"Boeing's decision to locate this plant in South Carolina is a major blow to Washington's working families and the larger business community. This is a missed opportunity that puts many jobs in Washington at stake. The fact of the matter is many small- and medium-sized employers rely on Boeing and their work force to support their companies. The governor and Democrat-controlled Legislature's apparent lack of commitment to land the second 787 production plant hurts every business sector in the state.

"While I appreciate some of the eleventh-hour overtures being made on behalf of our state, it is apparent that it was too little, too late. Many of us have been trying to address the concerns of job providers for the last several years.

'The governor has been in denial about these concerns, citing the Forbes report that Washington is one of the top places to do business. I'm a business owner though and I know firsthand the difficulties employers face in our state. It's obvious Forbes flew over Washington and never did business on the ground here. How many more businesses have to leave, and how many more jobs do we have to lose to other states, before we get serious about substantively improving our business climate? We need aggressive leadership committed to creating and protecting jobs for Washington families.

"This decision lights the 'no vacancy' sign to other employers who may have been considering bringing jobs to our state. While the governor and her staff have downplayed what they consider the loss of a mere 700 jobs the production plant could have created in Washington, I think the 350,000 people currently unemployed statewide would have liked a shot at the gainful employment the plant would have offered.

"The loss of these much-needed jobs could have been avoided. An independent report issued to the Legislature earlier this year practically handed the governor and lawmakers the keys to keeping and recruiting jobs to our state. The report made clear workers' compensation and unemployment insurance reforms are top issues for every employer. Sadly, the report did not prompt action by the governor and legislative leaders.

"Washington will forever be known as the state that told the aerospace industry, and every other company looking to grow their operations, to fly to better climates. For those legislators who believe our state is better off without the second production plant, I have a bridge to nowhere to sell you."

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle

"Today is a very disappointing day for Washington. I had great hope that in the end Boeing and the Machinists would come to an agreement that resulted in providing thousands of new jobs for our state.

"As chair of the Senate Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee, I know how important Boeing is for Washington's economy and the 80,000 Washingtonians it employs. I also know how important Washington's highly skilled workforce, outstanding education and workforce development infrastructure is to Boeing's strong business plan.

"Today, however, is not the end of the story. Boeing continues to be our state's largest private employer and thousands of Washingtonians will remain employed building the 737, the 777, the first line of the 787, and prospectively the tanker

Snohomish Co. Executive Aaron Reardon

"The Boeing Company's announcement to locate a second 787 line in North Charleston, S.C., signals that other states want what we have - a strong manufacturing base. We must all work together and fight to keep it. Washington state must make a conscious decision to do whatever is reasonably necessary to aggressively compete to keep the jobs we have and grow our economy or risk more losses.

"The loss of the second line of the 787 will most certainly result in finger pointing. I urge all parties to resist that temptation as it is counterproductive and does nothing to further our objective to be the most competitive state in the country.

"What's important moving forward is that we all understand why these two parties could not reach an agreement so that we may play a role in rebuilding this relationship. In addition, we must bring all the necessary parties together in Olympia to reach agreement on removing the barriers that prevent new investment and job creation."

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson

"I am deeply disappointed by this turn of events. I had hoped for a different outcome.

This decision will have an adverse impact on many loyal and dedicated workers, suppliers and sub contractors here in Puget Sound.

The effect of today's decision will be widely felt in families, schools, local small businesses and community services.

While I hold out hope that the Company and the Union may still find a path to compromise, our task now is to demonstrate beyond a shadow of doubt our expertise by securing the Air Force tanker contract.

Washington State still hosts an established, experienced, and knowledgeable manufacturing nucleus of 80,000 aerospace workers and 650 suppliers who have built the best airplanes in the world.

We need to pull together as never before to ensure Washington State remains the center of aerospace manufacturing nationally and internationally."

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford

"Boeing's decision to expand their presence in our state with an
infusion of jobs and capital investment - the largest announcement in
South Carolina history - represents not only enormously good news for
our state's economy, but also a telling dividend from our state's
continued efforts to better our business climate. For us, that means
lowering taxes, easing regulatory burdens in our state's tort and
workers' compensation systems, and keeping South Carolina a
right-to-work state," Gov. Sanford said. "I'd first and foremost applaud
the hardworking Boeing employees already in the Lowcountry for both
their day-to-day efforts and their confidence in Boeing's management,
and in the same way I'd thank Boeing - and in particular Chairman Jim
McNerney - for returning that vote of confidence in our state.

"Just as the similarly monumental BMW investment catalyzed a now
extensive automotive presence across South Carolina more than 15 years
ago, we believe Boeing landing decisively in North Charleston will spur
on an already growing aerospace hub in our state. Also just like BMW,
Roche, or the Global Aeronautica investment that led to Boeing's
foothold in South Carolina only four years ago, this project required a
team effort from dedicated leaders in both the private and public
sectors. Accordingly, I'd single out a few heroes in this process:

"First, I'd offer our and the state's appreciation to Commerce Secretary
Joe Taylor and Senator Hugh Leatherman, who worked side-by-side on this
matter, and whose work was complemented by Jack Ellenburg and Daniel
Young. Legislative leadership was similarly vital - and decisive - in
Boeing's commitment to South Carolina, and accordingly, I'd especially
credit Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell and Speaker Bobby
Harrell, along with Senator Leatherman, for the legislative yeoman's
work they've done. I would also thank people at the local level like
David Ginn, Steve Dykes and Heyward Horton. Lastly, but certainly not
least, I'd give real credit to U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham for his
invaluable efforts along the way. With all that said, we look forward to
welcoming the Boeing team to South Carolina."