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Published: Monday, July 28, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Culture, leaders, need to change

A cowering workforce.” That's what Boeing CEO Jim McNerny called the men and women of Boeing who work for him. Shameful. Equally shameful is the work environment that led to the company's top leader demeaning his workforce. I am sick and tired of it, from every end of the spectrum that is Boeing. Leadership, the union, and every employee there bears some responsibility for the work environment that has led to what is clearly a critical breakdown in culture.
That culture starts with leadership. And I don't care what challenges McNerny thinks he faces, speaking of his team that way speaks so poorly to his ability to lead that company. The union is rightfully indignant.
But leadership also belongs with the union. And the culture of teamwork between the union and Boeing is degraded. I pray it's not beyond repair. Washington state needs aerospace and it needs Boeing. Everyone of those workers needs Boeing.
Moving down that totem pole from leadership to the everyday working man and woman: A great many of you give blood sweat and tears to pour yourself into doing the best job you can. I'm so stinkin' proud of my fellow man and the heart and soul you give to your families, your community, and your jobs. But there's a great many who are on the take (and we all know them, so don't pretend it's not true). The Boeing employees I know characterize them with disgust, and it's pretty clear the takers are too often protected by the union.
Something has to change. It's high time the leadership at Boeing and the union quit pointing fingers and get their butts to the table to figure out this breakdown in culture. Boeing can move out of state, and if they don't figure it out, the same negative culture will just be re-created somewhere else.
Boeing has everything they need in Washington state to stay the top aerospace power. Snohomish County has invested in its workforce and in that company. Bring in the the kind of culture-shifting experts that can help you figure it out. Culture starts at the top. Good or bad, it trickles down to the rest of the team.
Right now, the culture at Boeing is broken. Leadership — union and corporate — it's time to change it.
Ellen Hiatt
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Herald Editorial Board

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