It’s management that’s doing harm

Regarding the Monday article, “Was strike the last straw?”:

Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia “envisions Boeing moving its commercial airplanes division to the southern states over the next decade.” He further states: “As the car companies realized, it’s easier to train flexible workers than it is to work with experienced but inflexible workers.” The article further states: “During the strike, Boeing executives hinted that Aboulafia’s assessment might be correct.”

With current discussions in the press about possible bankruptcy filings for all the major U.S. car companies, holding any of these up as an ideal model to emulate makes absolutely no sense. In fact, it can be reasonably argued that the incompetent management of the car companies has led to imminent potential disaster for them.

And what about the management at Boeing? A brief Google search about Boeing leads to specific accounts of sexual misconduct in the executive suite, specific accounts of unethical and illegal activities involving certain tanker projects, and specific accounts of mismanagement of the outsourcing program involving the 787. Based on these observations, it is my opinion that the Machinists have not substantially harmed Boeing, but it appears that the management at Boeing has had significant problems.

Perhaps the airlines and the unions at Boeing should join forces. As a specific suggestion, the airlines could help finance employees at Boeing to purchase a substantial, or controlling, interest in Boeing shares under an expanded Employee Stock Ownership Program (“ESOP”). Then the airlines and the unions could work together to hire good technical management to run Boeing. I am not an employee of Boeing, nor am I a member of any union, but simply wish to avoid stupid management decisions from wrecking another icon of U.S. industry.

W. Banning Vail


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