Amidst the many articles and letters we have seen lately over the proposed new contract offer to the IAM, I really wonder if folks have truly thought about what it takes to mass produce something as complicated as a commercial airplane. I realize that the company is far different today than when I retired more than 23 years ago and my experiences as a member of 751, SPEEA and the BMA were far different than those of today’s employees, but I can’t help but think that employee motivation to build the best is any different.
The expertise from years of designing and building over almost a century now is a priceless asset. You don’t put together those millions of parts that make up an airplane that you can turn out multiple copies each month starting from scratch. You don’t find people working long hours, much of it without overtime pay, unless they truly care about their job and the product that results. Times are different in this world, competition is greater and the costs of doing business in this environment make the task much harder. Getting a Boeing engineer back as head of the company and bringing the headquarters back to Seattle would do a lot to solving some of these issues in my mind.