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Boeing Live Event Coverage

Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates covers top industry events to bring you the latest news, highlighting how it impacts Boeing and its competitors.

June 20, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Moses Lake, other Washington locations, in running for Boeing jet

Posted by Dominic Gates

Gregoire & Albaugh.jpg Inside a giant Boeing 747-8 on display at the Paris Air Show, Gov. Christine Gregoire said locations around the state, including Moses Lake, will be considered for the final assembly site of the next new Boeing plane along with the company's current factories in Everett and Renton.

Referring to the competition to build an all-new jet to replace the 737, which Boeing has not yet firmly committed to make, Gregoire said the state of Washington "won't take anything for granted."

To get one possible location ready to compete, Gregoire said she has removed an obstacle -- which she said was an environmental regulatory issue -- that caused Moses Lake to be eliminated from the 787 Dreamliner competition in 2003.

"I've eliminated that reason," she said. "I've taken care of that. That no longer exists."

"But I don't want to discount Renton and I don't want to discount Everett," she said. "Maybe a different place physically than we are producing the 737s right now, but I think we've got lots of places in Washington State that want to be considered."

Asked how long she thought the state had to get its act together, she said "No time."

This month Gregoire named Seattle attorney Tayloe Washburn as her senior adviser on "Project Pegasus," the campaign to win the 737 replacement for this state.

And she said she put $3 million of discretionary funds into training aerospace workers because Boeing's planned production ramp up means a hiring boom.

Standing beside Gregoire (above, with her husband Mike Gregoire in the middle), Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Jim Albaugh thanked the Governor for her full support in the recent legislative session to pass laws related to unemployment insurance, worker's comp, workers' training funds and education reforms that benefited the company.

"She has delivered on the things we have asked for," said Albaugh. "I see really good things coming out of Olympia."

Gregoire said that was just "a down payment."

She conceded in remarks to journalists that "the relationship frankly has ebbed and flowed with the company and the legislature." But she said that has changed.

Gregoire also said that the relationship between the company and the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union is much better now than it was a year ago when the IAM filed a complaint against Boeing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that led to a hearing in Seattle this month.

"It's unfortunate it has hung over all this time, when in fact the relationship has dramatically changed," she said.

She said politicians who've opined on the case "ought to shut up," adding that she hoped the parties could settle the NLRB dispute between themselves, rather than in court.

An IAM delegation is with the Governor in Paris, including District 751 president Tom Wroblewski. All are trying to drum up work for Washington State.

Wroblewski issued a statement Monday praising the appointment of Washburn.
"To be successful in aerospace, you have to have business, government and labor all working together," Wroblewski said.

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