EVERETT — Boeing’s pending decision to end production of 787 Dreamliners in Everett is not sitting well with civic leaders.
In interviews and statements Wednesday, they expressed deep disappointment. Several called the strategy of consolidating assembly of the passenger jet in South Carolina misguided and short-sighted. They all reacted to a story in the Wall Street Journal.
And Gov. Jay Inslee said if the aerospace giant goes through with the move, it would force the state to take “a hard look at the company’s favorable tax treatment.”
Here are excerpts from comments obtained Wednesday:
Gov. Jay Inslee:
“If the Wall Street Journal report is accurate, Boeing would be turning its back on the finest workers and the best place in the world to build airplanes. Washington state has supported the company with a well-trained workforce, a robust supply line, unparalleled infrastructure, world-class research institutions and the best business climate in America.
“If this report is true, it would force a review of that partnership, including a hard look at the company’s favorable tax treatment
“We have asked the Boeing Company multiple times what it needs to keep 787 production in Washington. We’ve heard nothing back. Nor have we heard anything about how to restart this work when conditions improve. This move would signal an allegiance to short-term profits and Wall Street — not quality, safety and a vision for the future of the industry.”
Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers:
“If this news is confirmed by Boeing, it is not what we had hoped for. Our top concern is with the families, workers, suppliers, and businesses this decision impacts. COVID-19 has pushed our economy into unwelcome and uncharted territory, and this is a another blow. But we are resilient. We have survived tough times before, and we will get through this. We also know that Boeing has made long-term investments in Everett, and we will continue to support the other work that continues here.
Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin:
“Boeing is part of the fabric of our community, and hearing this is truly painful. But regardless of where Boeing chooses to locate any of its product lines, Everett remains a world class aviation and aerospace manufacturing hub. This loss hurts us, but we are strong and resilient. My commitment to the Boeing Company, aerospace industry partners, and our incredibly dedicated workforce remains unwavering and we’ll continue working together to ensure the world’s best planes continue to take flight from Everett.”
Jon Holden, president of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751:
“They haven’t announced a decision. We’re not going to concede it is a foregone conclusion and we’re going to continue to fight to keep these jobs here. If the decision is to move the 787 out of Washington, everyone should feel betrayed.”
Washington State Labor Council President Larry Brown, a former Boeing employee who served as political director for IAM District 751:
“Until we hear a formal announcement from Boeing about its plans for 787 production, we will continue to make the case that Washington remains the smart choice for its 787 assembly. Here in Washington, the company has a long history of success. Here in Washington, state and local governments have gone to extraordinary lengths — from major tax incentives to workforce training programs — to help Boeing succeed. But most importantly, here in Washington, you’ll find what is widely acknowledged to be the best and most efficient aerospace workforce in the world.
“Because of the pandemic, the company is already experiencing a significant talent drain by laying off experienced Machinists and Engineers. It would be a mistake to accelerate that loss of expertise by shifting production away from Washington. To emerge from this downturn, Boeing needs to invest in its future and in the development of new airplane programs to rebuild its market share. Industry analysts agree that Washington is the best place for that to happen — now and in the future.”
Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber:
“If today’s news reports on the 787 move proves true, this would be a devastating loss that will have far-reaching personal and economic impacts on this community. The Boeing Company is the foundation and heartbeat of our city, county and state. COVID has hit our aerospace industry especially hard, and if a move of the line does occur, we will continue to advocate for its return to Everett once the aerospace industry and air travel resumes.
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen:
“Boeing’s decision to pull its 787 production out of Washington state is shortsighted and misplaced. . The aviation and aerospace industry and the Pacific Northwest must be prepared for a future where Boeing continues to build airplanes here and we use our strengths in aerospace and innovation to invest in emerging aerospace tech, support the work of new entrants in the airspace and lead on environmentally sustainable aviation fuel. As the economy comes back and air travel returns, I will fight to bring 787 production back to Everett.”
U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene:
“I am deeply disappointed by Boeing’s decision to move its 787 Dreamliner production line out of Washington.
“Washington state has been the home to Boeing and the world’s strongest aerospace community for decades. This decision is misguided and hurts the communities and workers that have helped make the company so successful.
“I will work with my colleagues in the Washington congressional delegation, state officials, and private sector leaders to bring the 787 back to Everett.”
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal:
“The company’s misguided decision to dishonor workers throughout the Pacific Northwest by turning their back on our region is wrong. I will not stop fighting to lift workers up — from those harmed by Boeing’s shortsighted decision to those out of work due to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. I will work with our state’s Congressional Delegation to do everything we can to bring 787 production back to Everett and to lay the groundwork for new investments in aerospace and manufacturing jobs.
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell:
“I don’t agree with the decision to shut down 787 production in Everett. Everett provides capacity that will be needed. We should be taking the opportunity now to prepare for a recovery in aviation demand by retaining a production workforce in Everett and keeping the supply chain hot and ready for higher production levels.
“A decision to move production to South Carolina will ultimately be followed by a push to pay the workforce there the wage they deserve. At that point, I’m not sure what this move will have been all about.”
U.S. Sen Patty Murray:
My heart goes out to the workers at Boeing hearing this news, and I’m pushing Boeing for more information about how they came to this decision. While these are difficult times, it would be absolutely inexcusable for Boeing to turn its back completely on the skilled and dedicated workers that have helped make the company so successful and who continue to make our state the best place in the nation for innovation and manufacturing.
Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson:
“Boeing’s decision to relocate its 787 production is a devastating blow to our state, and more importantly to the workforce and families impacted by this. Mukilteo is home to many Boeing employees, and I am deeply concerned with how this will affect them.
“I stand by Boeing employees who oppose this move, and support maintaining all manufacturing in Washington state. I agree with our Congressional leadership, Boeing should not cut its Puget Sound workforce further without a real plan for retaining and retraining that skilled workforce.”
Ray Stephanson, former Everett mayor:
“I am deeply disappointed. I understand business decisions. I could understand suspending production but to say we’re going to close it … is premature and misguided. I did everything in my 14 years (as mayor) to support Boeing and fought hard to get the 777X expansion in Everett. This frankly feels a little like a slap in the face.”