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Dan Catchpole | dcatchpole@heraldnet.com
Published: Friday, November 8, 2013, 1:31 p.m.

Boeing's Conner: 'Let's move forward together'

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner sent a letter about the company's contract-extension proposal straight to manufacturing employees today in an email. It's pasted below, and the original PDF can be downloaded to the right.

Bottom line: "What we want to avoid is that we become one of the companies that made decisions too late to remain competitive in the marketplace. ... We want the union and company to have a long and prosperous future together. One that supports our families, rewards the hard work that day-in and day-out builds these fabulous airplanes that change people's lives and connects them with the world. Like many of you, I'm the product of a Boeing family, and I care deeply about the company and its people. Let's move forward together."


Letter From Ray Conner

As we look to the future, it is very clear that the commercial aviation marketplace is becoming more competitive and challenging. We're in a battle each day to succeed in the marketplace and to secure our long-term future. Our customers require world-class performance, support and competitive pricing; our mission is to meet and exceed their needs.

Earlier this week, we announced with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District 751 a historic long-term contract modification and extension that would result in locating the 777X final assembly and wing fabrication in the Puget Sound region. The proposed agreement is an extension of the 2011 contract that brought the MAX to Puget Sound, and provided the foundation that enabled us to increase 737 production to 47 airplanes a month.

Our goal when we entered these discussions was two-fold: to enable the 777X to be produced in Puget Sound, and to create a competitive structure to ensure that we continue market-leading pay, health care and retirement benefits while preserving jobs and our industrial base here in Puget Sound.

Our principal competitor wants to take more than 60 percent of the market and relegate Boeing to compete with new entrants to commercial aviation to fight over the remaining share. This is not our legacy. This is not our future. But our world is changing rapidly, and we need to change as well to secure our future. What we want to avoid is that we become one of the companies that made decisions too late to remain competitive in the marketplace.

Discussions with the IAM come at a critical time for Commercial Airplanes. Our customers are making decisions — to buy or not to buy from Boeing — over the next five years that will define our future position in the market. The 777X, which will launch this year, is an essential part of our long-term product strategy. This airplane will set us apart from the competition.

When times are good, it's easy to forget that continued success is not guaranteed. It takes years to design, manufacture and sell airplanes — and years to feel the impact of a shifting competitive environment. We want to be proactive in designing our future.

The contract extension, if ratified, provides a unique opportunity for stability and security for our team, customers, suppliers, and community for years to come. It helps ensure we build a product that's of superior value and yet affordable — key basics that our customers require. I know this agreement secures pay, health care and retirement benefits superior to what other companies provide their employees.

I urge you to take the time to fully understand this proposal, and to talk with your family to determine how this affects our future. We want the union and company to have a long and prosperous future together. One that supports our families, rewards the hard work that day-in and day-out builds these fabulous airplanes that change people's lives and connects them with the world. Like many of you, I'm the product of a Boeing family, and I care deeply about the company and its people. Let's move forward together.

Ray Conner
President & CEO
Boeing Commercial Airplanes


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