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Old 11-22-2013, 10:50 AM   #101
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How Washington state can charm Boeing - Puget Sound Business Journal

This article by some state reps focuses on what the State of Washington might do, to address longstanding Boeing complaints about trying to do business in our region. Our recent history has been poor IMO. It's like if your girlfriend told you that she was getting tired of your sloppy clothes, and you made no changes to respond to her suggestions. Not smart, and I feel fairly sure that this time around not only the Machinists also but the state is going to have to show more cooperation, if our region will not have to say goodbye to this very large project.

I hope you can see this article.

Ha
Unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall. Interesting thread nonetheless. Certainly many important details are not available to us yet (if ever), but I would add one detail to your last statement:

Quote:
this time around the Machinists. the state and Boeing are going to have to show more cooperation
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:16 AM   #102
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Unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall. Interesting thread nonetheless. Certainly many important details are not available to us yet (if ever), but I would add one detail to your last statement:
Maybe. But unless these other locations cannot build airplanes, seems to me that Boeing holds the whip hand. All negotiations come down to position and power.

However, if I were Boeing management, I would be at least somewhat nervous after all the 787 difficulty away from Puget Sound.

My father, mother, and 2of 3 sibs were/are union workers. One sib was a union official. My Dad used to sing a little ditty as he went off to work-"It's much better to marry a union man...""

So I am definitely not anti-union.

Ha
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:48 AM   #103
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Maybe. But unless these other locations cannot build airplanes, seems to me that Boeing holds the whip hand. All negotiations come down to position and power.

However, if I were Boeing management, I would be at least somewhat nervous after all the 787 difficulty away from Puget Sound.

My father, mother, and 2of 3 sibs were/are union workers. One sib was a union official. My Dad used to sing a little ditty as he went off to work-"It's much better to marry a union man...""

So I am definitely not anti-union.
No disagreement regarding the negotiations.

It does seem like Boeing has some serious unresolved system integration challenges, and this looks (to me) like the greater issue. Boeing has not shown they can successfully design and assemble an aircraft manufactured around the world. This is the task management needs to resolve, and if successful, they will gain a great deal more flexibility and bargaining power.
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:08 PM   #104
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The history of the working man without unions and political clout is pretty grim. One has only to look at the thousand workers who died earlier this year in Bangladesh to see an example of how much some employers care about their workers. We had similar things in this country, not as bad, where worker health and safety was neglected for profits. I personally know of a situation where toxic mold was known to be in a building, but this fact was concealed from the employees. It only came out when several workers who were feeling bad in general and worse at work had blood tests that revealed the problem.

OTOH, having to have a union guy to plug in your laptop is down right ridiculous. The union needs to focus more on long-term employee wellbeing and not trivial matters. I was part of a union where they squabbled over dumb stuff like staff meetings that went a few minutes past quitting time, while allowing the absolute highest cost, low returns funds in our 403B plans. How stupid is that?

The Boeing workers are a long way from the poor people in the overseas garment factories. Hopefully, all involved can avoid extremes, look past a history of confrontation and work this thing out. Maybe?
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:15 PM   #105
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Doesn't the fight between unions and corporate managements look like the political fight in Washington DC?

People tend to chose extremists to represent them, because having a moderate in your camp might mean losing out to the extreme on the other side. It's human nature, sadly.
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:31 PM   #106
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No disagreement regarding the negotiations.

It does seem like Boeing has some serious unresolved system integration challenges, and this looks (to me) like the greater issue. Boeing has not shown they can successfully design and assemble an aircraft manufactured around the world. This is the task management needs to resolve, and if successful, they will gain a great deal more flexibility and bargaining power.
I see. I agree completely, and I did not understand that this was the meaning of your post.

Ha
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:05 PM   #107
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Doesn't the fight between unions and corporate managements look like the political fight in Washington DC?
Not in the least, but that's a different discussion for another thread.

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I see. I agree completely, and I did not understand that this was the meaning of your post.

Ha
My earlier point wasn't very clear. I do think that a joint effort by all three constituents could be very productive, but you are correct that the company has less incentive than the other two to do that,

Getting back to your question on how this impacts the city, do you really see an option where the Boeing job base remains relatively stable? Even if the union were to accept the proposed terms, Boeing's longer term strategy is to maximize outsourced production, so every outcome seems to lead to less earned income in the Seattle area.
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:20 PM   #108
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I fear that the entire world is heading towards a future that looks a lot like the past--

“Worst of any, however, were the fertilizer men, and those who served in the cooking rooms. These people could not be shown to the visitor,--for the odor of a fertilizer man would scare any ordinary visitor at a hundred yards, and as for the other men, who worked in tank rooms full of steam, and in some of which there were open vats near the level of the floor, their peculiar trouble was that they fell into the vats; and when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting,--sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham's Pure Leaf Lard!”
― Upton Sinclair, The Jungle

“All day long this man would toil thus, his whole being centered upon the purpose of making twenty-three instead of twenty-two and a half cents an hour; and then his product would be reckoned up by the census taker, and jubilant captains of industry would boast of it in their banquet halls, telling how our workers are nearly twice as efficient as those of any other country. If we are the greatest nation the sun ever shone upon, it would seem to be mainly because we have been able to goad our wage-earners to this pitch of frenzy.”
― Upton Sinclair, The Jungle



Quote:
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The history of the working man without unions and political clout is pretty grim. One has only to look at the thousand workers who died earlier this year in Bangladesh to see an example of how much some employers care about their workers. We had similar things in this country, not as bad, where worker health and safety was neglected for profits. I personally know of a situation where toxic mold was known to be in a building, but this fact was concealed from the employees. It only came out when several workers who were feeling bad in general and worse at work had blood tests that revealed the problem.

OTOH, having to have a union guy to plug in your laptop is down right ridiculous. The union needs to focus more on long-term employee wellbeing and not trivial matters. I was part of a union where they squabbled over dumb stuff like staff meetings that went a few minutes past quitting time, while allowing the absolute highest cost, low returns funds in our 403B plans. How stupid is that?

The Boeing workers are a long way from the poor people in the overseas garment factories. Hopefully, all involved can avoid extremes, look past a history of confrontation and work this thing out. Maybe?
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:46 PM   #109
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Not in the least, but that's a different discussion for another thread.


My earlier point wasn't very clear. I do think that a joint effort by all three constituents could be very productive, but you are correct that the company has less incentive than the other two to do that,

Getting back to your question on how this impacts the city, do you really see an option where the Boeing job base remains relatively stable? Even if the union were to accept the proposed terms, Boeing's longer term strategy is to maximize outsourced production, so every outcome seems to lead to less earned income in the Seattle area.
I think that you are broadly correct. Still, these airplane runs last a very long time, so this still very much counts. I think the first 747 rolled off the line in Everett in 1969, and they are still making them. Likewise the Renton manufactured 737 first flew in 1967, and was put into airline service in 1968. Variants of this plane are still very much in demand, and Renton is still very busy making them. That's almost 50 years, and they aren't done yet.

Ha
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:14 PM   #110
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I think that you are broadly correct. Still, these airplane runs last a very long time, so this still very much counts. I think the first 747 rolls off the line in Everett in 1969, and they are still making them. Likewise the Renton manufactured 737 first flew in 1967, and was put into airline service in 1968. Variants of this plane are still very much in demand, and Renton is still very busy making them. That's almost 50 years, and they aren't done yet.

Ha
Good point about the longevity of the assembly line. I was thinking of something with shorter economic life.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:30 PM   #111
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Getting back to your question on how this impacts the city, do you really see an option where the Boeing job base remains relatively stable?
It certainly could, in theory. Boeing has a big investment in the physical plant in Washington state, the workers there have a natural advantage. They don't have to be the cheapest comparable labor force, just less expensive after all the moving costs are included. Unfortunately for them, money is cheap right now, and Boeing certainly realizes that this may be the best opportunity they'll have for many years to open a new line in a low-cost place.

"If they move, I'll lose my job." Nope--it was always Boeing's job: they created it, they can move it, they can eliminate it.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:08 PM   #112
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My apologies for the somewhat political nature of this comment, but in this topic it's difficult to avoid....

It's unfortunate that our society has come to regard unions as corrupt organizations that do little but gum up the works of companies while extracting unreasonable concessions. A generation ago everyone would have considered the terms asked by the Boeing machinist's union to be most reasonable. Sadly as most of us have lost the benefits of a highly unionized workforce that our parents enjoyed we've come to regard the few who still receive these benefits as greedy and foolish.

I've never belonged to a union and I've seen the way in which some union rules can impede rather than enhance productivity. Indeed, when I've worked in a "union shop" (at Boeing, no less) I've run afoul of union rules and had grievances filed against me when I was foolish enough to try to perform minor tasks a union guy could have done. Union folks often looked at me as the work-steeling-enemy rather than as a colleague.

That said I recognize that what benefits I have would be absent were it not for the union.

I would rather see us as a society fighting to enhance the viability of unions rather than stamp out the few that remain. Unfortunately unions have been so effectively demonized in the US that I don't see that happening. Ask most folks on the street and they'll tell you how much they hate the greedy unions and wish they'd disappear. Another few years and I fear we'll all get our wish.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:27 PM   #113
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Guess this thread has run its course. Thanks, everybody.

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