Boeing 787 at the Everett, WA plant
Is Boeing threatening to move jobs out of Washington State unless their labor union commits to a no-strike clause in the next contract? I was waiting for a bit more information on the reports of Boeing’s ultimatum to their Washington machinists’ union before blogging about it, but details have not been forthcoming since U.S. Representative Norm Dicks from Washington broke the story a couple of weeks ago:
“The whole thing comes down to, can they get a long-term agreement with the union, with a no-strike clause. That’s what ultimately has to happen here in the next two or three or four months — or they are going to go elsewhere. I think if they get this agreement, they would stay.”
The no-strike clause rumor comes in the wake of Boeing’s purchase of a 787 rear fuselage production plant in South Carolina – prompting concerns that Boeing will move more of its production out of the Everett and Renton, Washington plants.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO District 751, who represents Boeing’s machinists in the Pacific Northwest, issued a statement assuring members that no proposal on a no-strike clause had been presented by Boeing. They also expressed disappointment with Boeing allowing rumors to spread this way: “To use politicians as microphones to deliver a message, creates problems and does nothing to improve the relationship [between Boeing and the Machinists’ Union].” That being said, the union asserts that they will look at any possible routes to keeping jobs in the state.
Washington State greatly benefits from the two large Boeing plants, and I’m sure residents would hate to see more Boeing jobs go out of state. Boeing has also been hemorrhaging money in the delayed production of the Dreamliner Boeing 787, so I can understand their desire to avoid costly strikes that could cause further delays. Boeing’s method of self-preservation, however, leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and I tend to feel for the union’s dismay over having all this leaked to the media before sitting down with labor. It will be interesting to see how negotiations pan out, and how strong public opinion will play a part.
Sources: Seattle Times, IAM District 751 Image: andyconniecox
ANA's Boeing 787 Dreamliner waiting for its first flight. Image from Boeing Media
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has not had very good luck.
It is Boeing’s newest jet made to be more economical and replace the aging Boeing 757 and 767’s.
The new aircraft was supposed to enter service in May 2008, but has hit a number of hurdles causing delay after delay. The aircraft had its official roll out on 07/08/07 (get it 7-8-7…cleaver), but it was just a pretty looking shell with almost no functionality (duct tape anyone?).
Delays have ranged from software issues, a strike, fasteners, contractors, supply chain and in-correct installations.
Everyone following the drama were hoping the Dreamliner’s would finally have its first flight on June 23, 2009 but it wasn’t meant to be. Boeing is now announcing that the newest delay, “stems from 18 points where the center wing box (11) meets the wingbox (12) on each side of the aircraft. The fix, once identified, will be installed on location. ”
A new airliner being developed and taking its first flight is a very exciting experience for anyone that follows the airline industry. It has been a long time since the Boeing 777 took its first flight (wow 1994) and I feel a personal connection to this project, since I live less than 15 miles from where the plane will take its first flight and I know people who have been working on the Dreamliner.
At this point, Boeing does not know when the first flight will happen, but check out FlightBlogger Jon Ostrower, who has minute by minute coverage of the events unfolding.
Boeing 787 airplane ZA001 outside the final assembly hall in Everett, WA
If you have been following the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, you have probably been pretty frustrated with the delays. I always love the day when a new airliner is able to come out of the hanger, taxi out, and fly. Boeing says the Dreamliner is on target (well the newest target) to start deliveries in the first quarter of 2010. This sounds of good news, but deliveries were supposed to start in May 2008.
They have had delays from parts, production “glitches” and of course that 2-month strike. Then add to all of that the global economic downturn and people flying less, creating a smaller demand for new aircraft like the 787. Although the demand might be smaller, Boeing still has 878 orders from 57 different customers.