A wake-up call
Boeing's decision to build a second 787 line in South Carolina is not an obituary. Bad news for Puget Sound, yes. A game-changer, yes. A wake-up call, we hope.
BOEING'S decision to build a second 787 line in South Carolina is not an obituary. Bad news, yes. A game-changer, yes. A wake-up call, we hope.
Puget Sound was not going to win the second line with appeals to regional loyalty. Boeing's executives and directors meet in Chicago, not here. They are inoculated against appeals to sentimentality. This is business.
Boeing wanted a 10-year no-strike deal from the Aerospace Machinists. The Machinists agreed, but they wanted agreement that other Boeing work would be done here and that the company would be neutral in all union organizing. The company would not agree to that.
This is a loss for Aerospace Machinists here, and to the extent that Boeing affects the pay and opportunities around it, it is loss for all workers in the Puget Sound region. It will be several years before people feel it, but they will.
The decision is made. The question now is, what next?
The Machinists will have to defend all the work they have here. They cannot do it by going on strike. They will do it by being more accurate and dependable than workers in South Carolina. Washington's Boeing workers have the knowledge and the education. They can do this.
State government, too, will have to take a sharper interest in making Washington attractive to investors. We are a high-wage state, and that should not change. But there will be fights about workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, work-force training and taxes. There are things that need to be changed in order to remain a high-wage state.
Our state just lost one competition. There will be more.
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.