So I need to state before you get any further, that this is going to be a bit of a rant, but I’m extremely frustrated with Boeing right now and this is my platform to vent.
But seriously Boeing, how can you act like the way that you are acting right now and think that it’s acceptable behaviour? With the recent announcement of the machinists voting to pass their new contract by 51% states that something isn’t right. So basically what has happened is Boeing said, either you vote in favour of what we are proposing or we’ll be moving to another state to begin production of our next aircraft, the 777X. Feel free to vote no, but when the production of the current 777 aircraft’s have been completed, you’ll be out of a job. Oh by the way, we don’t exactly have a firm timeline of the current 777 production schedule either. That’s roughly translated into, we’re going to make sure that we do everything in our power to close up shop as quickly as we can.
The Seattle Times is reporting that the vote passed by only 600 votes, 51 percent to 49 percent. In earlier versions of the contract, Boeing tried sweetening the deal by adding bonus’ and other elements to the contract. However, most of these sweets wouldn’t be rewarded for 5 to 7 years, so roughly 2019-2021. Sweet deal? More like a sour deal because when these discussions were happening, Boeing was stating that there was work on the books for approximately ten years on the new 737 MAX and 777X.
So if the machinists accepted the contract the first time around, they would have received their “bonuses” about the same time they would be entering into contract negotiations again because at the time this was all being discussed, work was projected to be good for ten years. The machinists said no, so Boeing sweetened the deal again. However, this is when they also added the catch that they are starting to look into other locations throughout the country to build a new plant and start aircraft productions elsewhere.
Fast forward to this last week when the machinists accepted their contract, because it was either that or they were out jobs. That’s really the gist of it all and that’s extremely unprofessional and selfish of Boeing. I know that there are many other large corporations that are playing the same games, but I firmly believe this one tops the cake right now. Hey machinists, do what we say, not what we do. All while Boeing’s CEO, Mr. W. James McNerney, Jr., will be making close to $20 million once all is said and done.
Lets look at things a little deeper and we’ll find one of the reasons that Boeing is doing what they are doing. It’s called the 787-8 aircraft. This aircraft was going to be the next aircraft of aircraft’s. It was going to make companies like Airbus cry because it was stated to be so awesome. Well, things didn’t exactly go as planned and time and time again the aircraft was further delayed for delivery. Then, when the aircraft finally does actually get off the ground, countless other problems follow it. The project has lost billions of dollars and instead of really owning up to many of the issues, Boeing releases the newest member of the family, the 787-9. Hey… look over here, shiny new aircraft with very few problems. Don’t mind that aircraft over there, it’s just a big pile of never ending issues. Boeing continues to lose money on the 787-8 because they are still so far behind on the deliveries that selected airlines have just given up and cancelled their orders.
So in reality, what I believe is really happening here is that Boeing needed to find a cash cow because they have lost so much money on the 787 that they wanted to recover it somewhere. Instead of the upper levels of Boeing taking a little less in their paychecks, they are using their own version of the trickle down effect. We’ll count the money that we are losing and then those loses will trickle all the way down to the bottom.
In the end, it’s a game of smoke and mirrors and sadly the machinists are the ones getting the short end of the stick. I just hope that from here forward, Boeing is able to get their act together and move forward. While the 787 program is a bit of a mess, let’s hope that future programs such as the 737 MAX and 777X work so that ten years from now, we aren’t in the same place again feeling a little day sha voo.