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Published: Friday, December 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Guest Commentary/Landing the 777X


A letter to the Machinists and the Boeing Co.

  • An artist's rendering of the Boeing 777X.

    Boeing Co. image

    An artist's rendering of the Boeing 777X.

The following open letter was written by Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, County Executive John Lovick, Everett Port Commissioner Troy McClelland, and the mayors of Bothell, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Marysville, Mill Creek, Snohomish, Arlington and Woodway.
As elected officials from across the region, we know how important the Boeing Co. is to Washington's future. In addition to attracting other aerospace companies to the region, Boeing represents the leading edge of our country's aerospace industry. Boeing employees are our friends and neighbors, and make up an integral and valued part of our communities.
We take great pride in being the home of Boeing, the world's premier airplane manufacturing company. Many of us have stared in wonder at the site of a massive Boeing jet slowly taxiing across the overpass above Highway 526. Visitors travel from around the world to view this marvel of aerospace manufacturing and technology.
It would be a tragedy to lose this institution, or see its presence in our state greatly diminished. But that might happen if we lose the 777X to one of our many competitors.
Knowing what's at stake, we urge the Machinists union and the Boeing Co. to reach an agreement that keeps Boeing and the 777X in the Puget Sound region.
We know that the circumstances surrounding the 777X initiatives of the past month have been unsettling for Boeing employees. The choices before them are far-reaching and will mean real changes for their families, their futures and our communities. But we believe a decision of this magnitude merits a second look.
We are at a critical junction. The aerospace industry has grown far beyond our backyard. The globe is dotted with manufacturing sites and Washington state is at risk of being left behind. The 777X represents vital jobs and stability for our workforce, families and communities. The 777X will keep secure jobs and cutting-edge technology in Washington where they belong.
The alternative is troubling. Forecasts show that in five short years, we could see a loss of 10,000 machinists and 30,000 indirect jobs. Losing out on the 777X will have adverse ripple effects that will extend far beyond the aerospace industry. Communities across the state would see significant drops in revenue and service, as well as lost charitable contributions from Boeing and its employees and fewer career opportunities for future workers.
We are in an intense competition for 777X assembly and wing production. We're already hearing from other communities eager to entice Boeing -- and our jobs -- away. Washington's workforce is the key to Boeing's success. These experienced, committed workers have built our state's reputation as an international aerospace leader.
An opportunity of this magnitude doesn't come without compromise. The state's 777X package includes billions in tax incentives, education investments, streamlined permitting and proposed transportation improvements. Our local communities have made concessions as well, but we believe the future payoffs far outweigh the short-term sacrifices.
On behalf of communities across the state, future generations of workers, and the many businesses that rely on Boeing for their very existence, we urge the Machinists and the Boeing Co. to seize this opportunity to move forward with the most knowledgeable and experienced workforce the company has.
Let the sharp minds and skilled hands that create and assemble the world's premier airplanes come back to the table and craft a solution that keeps Boeing jobs where they belong.

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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

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