Your Jan. 4 article about the competition for the Air Force’s $40 billion contract to build refueling tanker aircraft, (“Boeing Rival snares Saudi tanker deal) neglected to point out several brewing scandals — including some that involve stealing U.S jobs — that ought to give U.S. policy makers great hesitation in awarding crown-jewel contracts to the embattled French manufacturer.
For starters, the U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating billions in alleged bribes made by EADS’ partner BAE to Saudi officials that may have enabled both companies to win a lucrative fighter contract worth nearly $60 billion. The French and German governments have also opened investigations into insider trading at the highest levels of the company. If true, these allegations would violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, in addition to other laws.
However, most troubling is that EADS has used $100 billion in illegal foreign subsidies to influence the commercial airline market, siphoning some 65,000 U.S. jobs overseas in the process. Although the U.S. has filed a historic lawsuit against the European Union in protest, EADS is now attempting to use the same subsidies to win the tanker aircraft contract.
This brazen slap in the face could cost tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, as EADS plans to situate its main production line in Europe. EADS’ competitor for the contract, Boeing, would manufacture its planes in the U.S., supporting some 44,000 jobs. EADS and its U.S. partner Northrop Grumman have pledged to support some 1,500 jobs at an assembly plant in Alabama.
Just as Congress and the Pentagon did with Boeing, we should hold EADS accountable now for its questionable ethics and use of illegal subsidies.
Gabriela D. Lemus
Executive Director Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)