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Old 11-19-2013, 03:33 PM   #21
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Building an aircraft requires a huge amount of skill. Unlike a car which would simply roll to a stop on the side of the road, an aircraft that stops functioning is an immediate threat to hundreds of people.

Several years ago I attended an open house event at a Boeing plant. One person, in charge of accident investigation, told us that they are trying very hard to make the planes even safer. Even though the number of passenger miles is expected to grow over the next 20 years, they would like to keep the average number of fatalities per year the same. This means even higher standards for manufacturing, testing, redundancy, etc. Higher standards require more skill (or maybe robotics?). An automobile may be very safe if the engine bolts are made to 1/100 of and inch. But in a jet traveling 600mph, they might need 1/1000 inch tolerances to ensure that things work properly while flying over the Pacific. It was quite an interesting talk.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:10 PM   #22
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First a question for Ha. Are you asking because you are invested in Boeing or because you are a concerned local? Or both?
Concerned local. Boeing is huge here, for anyone who is not a software developer. Few people know that Seattle is called Jet City. Once you get a city of latte slurpers and foodies, things change, and not always in ways that I like. Some of my good friends are small business people. When Boeing employment in Puget Sound suffers, so do they. Boeing is not going to suffer anytime soon, this is more for the future.

Jet City Rollergirls - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia






I am also interested from the standpoint of important strategic decision making under conflict.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:43 PM   #23
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Concerned local. Boeing is huge here, for anyone who is not a software developer. Few people know that Seattle is called Jet City. Once you get a city of latte slurpers and foodies, things change, and not always in ways that I like. Some of my good friends are small business people. When Boeing employment in Puget Sound suffers, so do they. Boeing is not going to suffer anytime soon, this is more for the future.

Jet City Rollergirls - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia






Dec 1969. My first layoff (from Boeing) and thus embarking on my cross country 30 yr career in aerospace. My apartment was the 46th to be vacated out of 90 total newly built within two years in Kent WA south of Seattle. 15 more after me had already given their notice and they were trying to void 700 plus teaching contracts because school enrollment was falling so rapidly. The ripple effect thu the local economy was huge. Our sister city Kobe Japan was sending us Care packages so the churches could feed 78,000 per week according to the paper.

heh heh heh - 2013 and moved recently trying to sell a house in an area north of Kansas City in an area that has been losing population/business since the 1920's.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:55 PM   #24
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Yes, but not all that goes on an aircraft is made by Boeing or any other airframers.

I have visited and worked with a prominent aerospace component maker of hydraulic parts. An aircraft actuator for a control surface has many tight-tolerance parts, requires much testing and quality control in manufacturing, and often incorporates redundant components so that it can sustain single failure points. To the layman, it may look like a hydraulic actuator in a dump truck and is indeed much smaller, but it costs more than $100K.

And then, there's the engine makers and the avionics or electronic box makers. It takes a lot of skills and know-how to get an aircraft built. One that's safe that is.

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Building an aircraft requires a huge amount of skill. Unlike a car which would simply roll to a stop on the side of the road, an aircraft that stops functioning is an immediate threat to hundreds of people.

Several years ago I attended an open house event at a Boeing plant. One person, in charge of accident investigation, told us that they are trying very hard to make the planes even safer. Even though the number of passenger miles is expected to grow over the next 20 years, they would like to keep the average number of fatalities per year the same. This means even higher standards for manufacturing, testing, redundancy, etc. Higher standards require more skill (or maybe robotics?). An automobile may be very safe if the engine bolts are made to 1/100 of and inch. But in a jet traveling 600mph, they might need 1/1000 inch tolerances to ensure that things work properly while flying over the Pacific. It was quite an interesting talk.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:20 PM   #25
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Once you get a city of latte slurpers and foodies, things change, and not always in ways that I like.[/IMG]
Those dang latte slurpers! They are the problem! All this time I thought is was the bean-counters who replaced the engineers as the people who run the company.

One thing the workers have going for them is not just their skills but the knowledge base in their minds about how to build aircraft and what to watch for- the little 'gotchyas' that bedevil the inexperienced. My understanding of the 787 problems was that many resulted because the outside contractors did not fully understand what was needed. That's why Boeing bought some, fired some others, and sent a lot of engineers to work with the contractors. IIRC, it was their people in the Seattle area who were called upon to get the planes properly fixed and certified for flight. I know a few Boeing guys who worked incredible amounts of overtime. Despite the extra pay, the forced overtime which took them away from their families was not popular with many.

Let's face it, the American worker is just another cog in the machine at most companies. She can be tossed out as easily as one tosses away an old cell phone. IMHO, the workers should have accepted the contract, and then use part of their earnings to build a solid income stream that is independent of their employer. I did that as a teacher and I can assure you that, all comments about excess wages for public employees aside, I never made anywhere near what these guys make even when I worked the summer.

Geesh!! I sound cynical and unhappy. Not really. Just the wisdom of the years.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:27 PM   #26
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I thought the 'no' vote just meant that Seattle now had to bid for the work instead of being handed the work. I took that to mean that each location would bid on the 777X and the site with the best numbers would win the work.
Seattle is not out of the running entirely no. What is now off the table is the $8.7B tax incentive pkg which is dependent on a Yes vote. The day after the NO vote, Boeing exec site evaluation teams were out on the road talking to existing Boeing sites outside of WA state (Salt Lake, Huntsville, San Antonio, SC, Long Beach). Some of these are smallerish subsidiaries of Boeing and some are full on existing operations.

Long Beach is interesting in that the C-17 is currently produced there but winding down by 2015--timing would be about right and the workforce knows how to mfg large aircraft. Downside---state tax structure & UAW contract in place (not much labor savings potentially).

The current ave salary for the IAM is ~ $85K a year...a bit skewed right due to the senior existing workforce at the highend being quite a large pool.

Most new hires out of HS I'm told start at about $15 an hour (grade 4). 50 cent raises every six months, 2% GWI, COLA included. Incentive plan in place now as well. You can max out in your grade in 6 years as was mentioned by Ha.

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Old 11-19-2013, 05:40 PM   #27
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This could be a big loss for our region, our state, and likely also the USA.
If Boeing sets up production in another domestic factory where they can keep costs under control and thereby remain competitive for the long term, I don't think it will be a loss for the USA. And it will be a big gain for some other region where, apparently, people were more eager to have the work.
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Old 11-19-2013, 06:11 PM   #28
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+1

Boeing does not have a monopoly and has to compete with Airbus. A lower production cost helps.

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If Boeing sets up production in another domestic factory where they can keep costs under control and thereby remain competitive for the long term, I don't think it will be a loss for the USA. And it will be a big gain for some other region where, apparently, people were more eager to have the work.
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Old 11-19-2013, 06:28 PM   #29
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The IAM's summary of the (now rejected) contract proposal FWIW.

http://www.iam751.org/pages/t2013/Pr...Summaryweb.pdf
Third paragraph
The parties agree that the Company may subcontract or outsource certain 777X wing fabrication and assembly work packages, in whole or part, in order to create capacity for other 777X work packages in the Puget Sound facilities, and/or to efficiently utilize those facilities to accomplish the production and assembly of the 777X.

This is what I heard (Teamster gossip) was the reason for the no vote - subcontracting. Who's to say though whether Boeing really wants to use subcontractors or if they threw this language in the proposed contract to have a "concession" for future negotiations and make the end of the pension more palatable. Hard to say unless you're in the belly of the beast. Most everything you read in the media about rejected contracts is only conjecture.
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Old 11-19-2013, 06:29 PM   #30
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If Boeing sets up production in another domestic factory where they can keep costs under control and thereby remain competitive for the long term, I don't think it will be a loss for the USA.
Not as much of a loss as losing out to Airbus, but every time jobs move to where labor is cheaper, we continue the race to the bottom and average real wages continue to fall. I'm not sure that's "good" for the USA either.
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Old 11-19-2013, 06:37 PM   #31
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If Boeing sets up production in another domestic factory where they can keep costs under control and thereby remain competitive for the long term, I don't think it will be a loss for the USA. And it will be a big gain for some other region where, apparently, people were more eager to have the work.
This may well be true if all goes well. But if the ball gets dropped, certainly not impossible with something this complex and perhaps with a less experienced workforce, it seems to me that Airbus might get a very good lead in this twin engine wide body market. As someone said above, it is not just hand skills, or even mostly hand skills. It is collected institutional knowledge about how things work.

Ha
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Old 11-19-2013, 06:56 PM   #32
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It is collected institutional knowledge about how things work.
Ha
Another twist is that with globalization, the suppliers to Boeing are also willing to sell to Airbus. Boeing itself buys from overseas suppliers, often as a way to win some support from foreign countries.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:33 PM   #33
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This may well be true if all goes well. But if the ball gets dropped, certainly not impossible with something this complex and perhaps with a less experienced workforce, it seems to me that Airbus might get a very good lead in this twin engine wide body market. As someone said above, it is not just hand skills, or even mostly hand skills. It is collected institutional knowledge about how things work.

Ha
Don't some workers and managers move to sites that have been awarded contracts? Is all lost if a move occurs?
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:38 PM   #34
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Not as much of a loss as losing out to Airbus, but every time jobs move to where labor is cheaper, we continue the race to the bottom and average real wages continue to fall. I'm not sure that's "good" for the USA either.
In these difficult economic times, there are always other workers willing to undercut your pay to take your job.

And it's easier to do so with characterizations of other workers as being "greedy," when they are negotiating with a company with some ridiculously large backlog.

Boeing is claiming the benefits changes are needed to remain competitive but under the old benefits structure, it's won all these contracts which will keep the company churning out existing aircraft for years.

While it continues to get new contracts.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:44 PM   #35
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When negotiations start again they will be driven by the upper levels of the management team and the union leadership at the national level. One might be surprised at how many labor contract negotiations get resolved in hotel conference rooms away from the lights and hoopla.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:52 PM   #36
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In these difficult economic times, there are always other workers willing to undercut your pay to take your job.

And it's easier to do so with characterizations of other workers as being "greedy," when they are negotiating with a company with some ridiculously large backlog.

Boeing is claiming the benefits changes are needed to remain competitive but under the old benefits structure, it's won all these contracts which will keep the company churning out existing aircraft for years.

While it continues to get new contracts.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:55 PM   #37
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Not as much of a loss as losing out to Airbus, but every time jobs move to where labor is cheaper, we continue the race to the bottom and average real wages continue to fall. I'm not sure that's "good" for the USA either.
More of this 'race to the bottom' talk?

If you were trying to feed your family in an area w/o much manufacturing, and a big manufacturing plant moved in, and offered you a steady job at better compensation than you could get previously, would that feel like a 'race to the bottom' to you?

Or would it look more like, 'Those greedy people in the old plant didn't know how good they had it. We're happy to work for less than they were asking.'

Is it bad to bring help to those who most need it? In other conversations, this is called re-distribution of wealth, and is applauded by many. Is it different when a corporation does it? Is it different when we do it (shop for the best value, rather than shop to support the highest wages on the producer side)?

I guess I don't see any reason to be judgmental about it. If we have freedoms, then we (and corporations) will make these choices. It's natural. And I think it is good for America. What long term good would it be to discourage efficiency and productivity?

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Old 11-19-2013, 07:58 PM   #38
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My work puts me in close contact with Aerospace companies in the area. And boy has this been the hot topic of the month! Here is some of the general chatter I've been hearing:

1) The consensus is that Boeing is NOT bluffing. They can easily take this work out of state.

2) It's not just about Boeing jobs. There are hundreds of aerospace suppliers who manufacture components and provide services to Boeing. So the loss of these jobs will likely hurt the local economy. Even if you ship parts, there is a big difference between a one hour drive and cross country shipping.

3) Our government has been seriously scrambling to provide incentives. Why? Other states are actively recruiting this piece of business.

4) The union seems to think our experienced labor force will make it impossible for Boeing to leave. The consensus is that they are wrong. There is plenty of talent available in other states.

5) Seattle recently elected a socialist city council person and she gave the union an impassioned speech to "take over the factories." This may just have added fuel to the fire.

Mainly what I am hearing is "the Union is being stupid and it will impact more than just them." Not a lot of happy campers.

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Old 11-19-2013, 08:39 PM   #39
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My work puts me in close contact with Aerospace companies in the area. And boy has this been the hot topic of the month! Here is some of the general chatter I've been hearing:

5) Seattle recently elected a socialist city council person and she gave the union an impassioned speech to "take over the factories." This may just have added fuel to the fire.

SIS
I listened to a playback of her speech today. Occupy Mukilteo! We don't need the executives! We have the workforce and we'll take the machines, and transform them to make nice peaceful buses instead of those war machines!(commercial planes I guess?)

Anymore I will believe anything around here. Another group is occupying a closed school south of where I live-Horace Mann School, which the school district wants to use for classes. It reminds me of movies I watched and books I read about anarchists a century ago,

Ha
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:48 PM   #40
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I'm in Seattle and I think the message from Boeing has been pretty clear: we're gradually severing our ties with the PNW.

Corporate headquarters moved from Seattle: check.

Building planes outside of Seattle: check.

These two steps alone show they are ok with breaking ties to Seattle. This won't be an overnight change, but the reality is that it doesn't have to happen overnight, as others have pointed out. I don't think they enjoy being held hostage by the unions, who I believe will someday realize they had a decent offer.

Unfortunately future generations will be the ones most likely to suffer. I know if I was in my 20's or 30's, I would be hesitant to start a career at Boeing or anywhere dependent on Boeing. Unless I want to be in my 50's looking for new work or willing to relocate (assuming you could find a new job). No thanks.

Amen that Seattle isn't a one industry town anymore. It'll still hurt, but hopefully it will be gradual and can be absorbed by other industries.
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