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The Boeing Deal and Common Sense


A major labor union delivered a rare victory for common sense that points the way for more rational behavior by our political leaders.

The International Association of Machinists had overwhelmingly rejected a Boeing contract to produce the new 777X in the Seattle area, and when the company came back with an improved deal, local union leadership stridently demanded the contract’s rejection. Meanwhile, Boeing negotiated with other states like Texas to save money on labor costs, so the rank and file narrowly voted to approve the new contract, keeping plants in the Northwest for at least a decade.

The machinists preferred compromising with the company, rather than “standing on principle” and risking their jobs. In politics, as well as business, pride and stubbornness can sometimes damage your own most important goals unless you keep “your eyes on the prize.”

Comments (6)

  1. From: American   On: January 7, 2014

    Profits just hit another all-time high while simultaneously wages just hit another all-time low. See the problem?

    • From: Keith   On: January 10, 2014

      Let’s stipulate for a moment that this is true and accurate, what exactly do you propose to do about it? Raise the minimum wage, thus pulling up the bottom rung on the ladder out of the reach who’re unskilled, inexperienced, and come from a poor background? Or maybe you’d like to set a “ceiling” on CEO salaries or such? Or maybe we just need to start telling companies what they can pay their employees in general?
      The Free Market system works, it really does.

      • From: American   On: January 13, 2014

        Keith, you’re all over the place. I’m a 50 something year old straight A MBA with a bachelor’s of science in technology that’s worked since I was fifteen years old in the private sector. Don’t put words in my mouth. Obviously the capitalistic free market is the most powerful economic engine in human history. What people like you fail to recognize is that a high performance engine needs to be properly maintained or it stops performing correctly. The new monopoly capitalism we observe today is one result of our failure to properly regulate the “free” market in the U.S.. The unfair free trade paradigm we’ve built for the benefit of investors and the politicians they influence which has injured American workers and the national interest is another. Understand that our major trading partners engage in protectionist trade through the use of VATs and other protectionist measures while we do not. There’s nothing fair about this current “free” trade paradigm we’ve created. The same can be said for our financial and banking system since deregulation. Those are the areas we need to fix. Unfortunately, strict libertarians are as much a barrier to accomplish that as the many modern “progressive” liberals and neoconservatives are. The answers are clear for the few of us that really understand the complex multi-layered realities involved in correcting the economic dysfunction before us. But we are too few to do what needs to be done while there’s still time. We’re in a slow motion train wreck with all rating agencies already handing the U.S. a negative future outlook. Doubling down on what got us here isn’t the answer friend.

  2. From: S Johnson   On: January 8, 2014

    Blackmail is king

  3. From: CC   On: January 10, 2014

    Being from the area and having family that works for Boeing I am relieved and grateful to the machinists for standing up to their union that attempted to make a decision for them that was not in their best interest. This is a win for the machinists, Boeing doesnt belong to the state of Washington and this vote secured their jobs for years to come, as well as secured the economy of the area. While corporations are flawed, so are the unions that workers pay to represent them. So glad to see that those I know and love will maintain employment and stay in the area.

  4. From: Kpar   On: January 10, 2014

    I just thought I’d add this tidbit. Michigan just passed a “right to work” law that allows workers to refuse to join a union, just to get/keep their jobs.

    The unions, obviously, were quite unhappy.. well, almost.

    Turns out that the people who were MOST in favor of the new law were “rank and file” members of those same unions, who had felt disenfranchised by their “leadership”.

    Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, the teachers unions have lost several certification elections, where their members decided to take back the power of those unions from the “leadership”.

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