Thursday, August 29, 2013

Right-to-work sucks ... for Boeing

Remember when Boeing, that government contractor that offshores work to other countries, decided to move production to South Carolina, a No Rights at Work state, in order to bust the union? Guess how well that has worked out for the aerospace giant. Not so good.

The Puget Sound Business Journal tells us Boeing has found a less productive labor force:
Boeing’s South Carolina facility is running behind projections and won’t make its goal of producing three 787 Dreamliners a month by the end of 2013. In fact, the Everett plant will have to make up the difference in order for the company to reach its overall goal of 10 jetliners a month by year’s end.
Some of the comments at the end of the Business Journal story are priceless. Mark Costas from Kansas City, Mo., writes:
Boeing decision makers continue to lie about the true speed and quality of work in Charleston. They continue to attempt to convince the public it was a wise decision to build that plant. Every single section of airplane that arrives in Everett from Charleston needs rework. Everett employees have to redo the work that Charleston botches and then still build the planes to meet the rate increases. You NEVER hear the media fawn over Everett because Boeing and Nikki Haley don't want the truth to get out. Trust me, you do NOT want to put your family on a 787 that is built entirely in Charleston. 
John A. Totten from Miami University writes:
Is anybody familiar with aircraft production surprised at all by this? Boeing needs to transfer people to SC that KNOW what they're doing although I suspect it 's a case of remedial education that's the problem. Pulling shrimp out of the bay doesn't teach you a lot about micrometers and dial indicators. 
And from Coetug Morgan:
Of course they are behind. It is a" right to work for less state" which means not only can you work for less as the boss decides but also do less.
Bill Dow at the Economic Opportunity Institute writes:
Washington’s Boeing machinists and assembly line workers are some of the best in the world because our state has the infrastructure to support their training, certification and long-term employment. The skills, awareness and experience from years of work in the industry are held partly by individual workers, but also in a local network of relationships, trust and everyday interactions in the workplace. This is clear to workers and managers close to the factory, but less so to executives in offices 2,000 miles away. Washington’s competitive edge in aerospace has even led Airbus, Boeing’s major global competitor, to consider opening a Washington engineering center
Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus Americas stated at the 2013 Paris Air Show, “We are attracted to Washington state for the same reason we were attracted to Wichita. That’s where the talent is. If you want to have access to the talent that developed over the last 100 years of aviation, Washington is very fertile ground.” 
Put simply, we know how to do aerospace in Washington and we do it well. Aerospace unions are a central part of that. Maybe, just maybe, Boeing will realize now that union-busting isn’t just bad for their workers’ bottom lines, but their own as well.