Monday, September 15, 2008

Boeing Strike:

Am I the only one who thinks the whole Boeing vs Hardworking American is a sham? Lemme see if I understand this right; I'm going to boil it down to the barest essentials that I can. Boeing: Since we have been able to hire contractors, we have had record profits and great success, because we're not restricted to what the union demands. Union: Now I don't have any job security! You can replace me with non-union contract employees instead and I have to get off my ass and actually compete to keep my job, rather than depend on working here for the next 8 years and retiring like I'd planned. Did I get it basically right? As both a past contractor and a current business owner, it would only make sense to me. One of the complaints from union employees is "we don't get a percentage of your profits." No, you don't. You're an employee! If you want a percentage of profits, you can A) Invest a few million into our company as a shareholder like everyone else does or B) go invent your own multinational aircraft company! Why the hell would Boeing give anyone a share of their profits? No. Guess what folks, it's called effective administration! There ARE people who are getting a share of the profits. Are the engineers? No, probably not. They're the executives who oversee, hire, educate, and spend their lives making sure the company DOES continue to profit. Why would I pay the ball-bearing-greaser-dude a percentage of profits? If his ideas are so great and he's contributed so much to the company overall then he should have had enough sense to go sell his wondermous idea to lockheed-martin or some other fill_in_the_blank company! As a contractor myself throughout times in my life, I love the idea that smart creative people could come in from the outside and work for a company like Boeing. Do I expect to be awarded health benefits? No. Do I expect to be able to work towards retirement? No. I'm a contractor. I'm only going to be hired by this company as long as my performance remains profitable for me to be here. I think that's what America is all about, but that's just me. A guy like me coming into a company like Boeing for somethign like Project Management would only last as long as his drive and determination to be better than the other guy subsisted. When you get lazy, dependent on someone else to "secure your job" for the rest of your life, you deserve to be canned. If Boeing can do it cheaper AND just as good or better, then hell yeah, go for it. Having said all that, I DO think the union should have the right to compete for the same jobs... well, I guess I so. If that means that Joe Union Guy gets his "job security" then no I don't. This country wasn't ever founded on Job Security. There IS no such thing as Job Security. I am only secure in my job as a small business owner as long as I deliver BETTER service for the same or LESS money than the next guy. Wait a minute, that's like being a contractor... Ok... back to my real day job...


  1. You are assuming just as good. Well, that's why your father is suffering so greatly in his business because carpentry was outsourced to Ikea and Walmart, because it is just as good. Carpentry in houses is being outsourced to illegal immigrants from Mexico who work for a daily, minimum wage because it is just as good. These people are not coming from the ouside, smart and creative. They are being given to the lowest bidder, like furniture from Walmart that came to us from China to spread risk and to be more attractive to airlines buying because they are helping to enrich the economy of that country. These jobs are being shipped overseas and to those who don't understand what they are doing nor the dangers of what they are doing. That is why the 787 is so far behind. Boeing thought anyone can do it, alot cheaper and without representation, because Walmart can do it, right? Aerocontruction involves chemicals and serious bodily injury as a matter of course. And then people fly in these. They can't hire enough people to work for Boeing to do this being union represented in an area where people know what they are doing and what they will be exposed to.
    Both Boeing and Airbus, the only real 2 major airplane builders, are both heavily unionized because of these dangers. Neither wants to have unions. Neither wants to work with the unions.
    The Boeing company is doing so great because for the past few strikes, Boeing has asked for and received from the machinist union take aways like wage increases and benefits. The current wage of a entry machinist who will have extreme and deadly exposure to chemicals and who will physically damage himself forever doing this work is 12.50 an hour. Now that this is common knowledge, Boeing wants to raise their pay but also raise the amount that they are paying for benefits to take away from this. The workers don't get a raise in net income but it looks as if they are throwing away fabulous benefits and wage increases by people who do not work there.

    Pensions? Pensions were fine with Boeing before the Federal Pension Protection Act because the average worker got laid off far before he would get vested in a pension and Boeing wouldn't have to pay into a pension fund. For the past few years Boeing has contributed zero dollars to the pension plan. In aerospace, you get laid off about every 4-6 years for a period of about 1-3 years or more; something Boeing does not tell the other states. In 2006, Congress passed the Federal Pension protection act where people anywhere get vested in their pension at 3 years. So Boeing wants to go with a 401K plan now. 401k's are good for people who move from job to job, not people who have been exposed to chromates and have shoulder and knee injuries, which is about 100% of the machinist union members.

    They aren't outsourcing the "creative" jobs, they are outsourcing the jobs Boeing feels anyone can do, while still exposing these workers to the cemicals and physical danger without any workplace protections, like a union. AT Boeing, you do the work. If you refuse for ANY reason, you are fired on the spot and wlaked out the door by security. At Boeing, you can be forced to work 7 days a week, 10-12hours a day, weeks/months without end. If you refuse, you are fired. This is Boeing WITH UNION REPRESENTATION. Imagine without union representation. Outsourcing puts the workers in danger, puts union workers in danger and this puts the product in danger. It does spread the risk of building an airplane around to other companies throughout the world, some of whom, like China don't care about their workers being exposed to chemicals that kill people. But it looks absolutely fabulous from the bottom line, right up until the plane crashes and burns with 230 people on board. Ikea and Walmart can't put the pride into their wood products like your father. That is why they break after 2 months, a year. Mexican illegal immigrants aren't trained by people trying to "make their bottom line look better". SO what if the nails come out within a year or a peice of wood is missing because the poor guy did not underestand construction. You can replace a chair. You can't fix an airplane at 3,000 feet. Boeing workers take tremendous pride and responsibility, like your father, in their work. Boeing workers are the first to fly on Boeing planes after they are built and when Boeing workers fly for their vacations/business, they choose Boeing planes.
    The strike is all about one thing, not taking away from Boeing BUT giving BACK to the Boeing workers what they gave up to the company when times were bad and when the company asked. I hope you understand a little bit more about the situation and good luck to your father.

  2. DJ,
    Thanks for the awesome comment and the time you put into it. I agree on some levels and disagree on others.

    People like my father are being run out of business in certain areas, partially due to cheaper (read as mexican) labor and partly due to competitors who are willing to use shoddy products they purchase for cheaper.

    Others, who truly want craftsmanship, know the difference, though only usually because they've been burned before. I can't tell you how many times growing up I had to stand in in the lumber yard at Kelloggs and Griggs and go through hundreds of two-by-fours when Dad or Papa needed materials. If I came back with a bent board, knotty board, chipped board, or even one that was funny colored, I was sent to take it back and replace it with another good one. If one lumber yard didn't have enough good boards, we would go to another to pick up the rest. They took pride in their work, their materials, and their crews.

    The introduction of Mexican labor into our construction market killed contractors in our area. They came by the thousands and before long large companies were hiring them by the boatload (literally. lol). Within three years most of the real tradesmen had left the beach, my father included. Others who didn't leave were shut down by cheap labor from competitors and guys who would use any piece of bent red spruce they could find to stud a wall with.

    Anyway, that's not exactly your point.

    I guess if life were up to me, I would put stipulations on hiring, but it's probably a good thing it's not up to me. Only american citizens would have jobs. No green-card, no job, get your ass back on the boat Tonto!

    Outsourcing to China and Taiwan, Korea, Japan, India and others.... horrible idea. The government SHOULD step in on that one in my opinion. When America can't feed it's families because we are sending aid, food, AND jobs overseas, our people have a right to be upset. When every American who WANTS to work has a job, THEN we can hire overseas! (I say want, because some are just too lazy to work)

    You obviously have expressed some knowledge on the subject of Boeing, so I'll take your expressions as fact until told otherwise.

    If it were a choice of using unions or outsourcing to other countries, then I'd say unions, but I only say that because we're talking about international outsourcing in this instance.

    When it comes to working hours, these are again issues in which the federal government needs to take a stand and clamp down on industries who abuse workers. Guess what? It's against the law to work someone (according to national IRS law) more than 40 hours and not pay them overtime. Oil companies do it all the time, as do contractors, offices, apparently Boeing, and hundreds of thousands of businesses. It would even be cheaper for the business if they DID hire more people to cover the overtime hours, increasing worker safety by decreasing exhaustion, and increasing job opportunities for others who could work that extra time. Does the government step in on that, no. Stupid in my opinion.

    If what you are saying is true and workers are being exposed to chemicals and harsh environments without the benefit of protection, then Boeing should be shut down today until they conform to federal safety standards. That has nothing to do with the people doing the work and everything to do with ISO and Safety regulations applicable to all industrical manufacturers.

    Anyway, I'd like to hear any more feedback anyone has on the issue, you too DJ.


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