Management lacks ‘airplane people’

So Boeing is going. The real decision to place the second 787 Assembly Line was made when the folks in South Carolina voted to decertify the Aerospace Union. It would not have mattered if Washington matched the deal that they are receiving from the victors. The bottom line is money.

Although the cost of paying the people who build the airplane only works out to be 8 percent of the total cost of production, this is where the company always wants to cut costs first. Now they can pay their new production people $12 an hour as well as cutting benefits. South Carolina is a right to work (for less) state.

Our governor’s major political blunder of walking with the workers on the picket lines didn’t help either. She would have been better off trying to bring both sides together behind the scenes. All that move succeeded in doing was making the company angry, but they were able to get their revenge.

The real shift in corporate philosophy began when McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing. That is also when they turned loose the bean counters and accountants. Fewer and fewer “airplane people” were running the company now. Soon that change would begin to show. The 787 is a classic example of poor company planning and the weakness of an over extended supply chain.

Am I angry at the folks in South Carolina? Of course not. They are going to be “chained to the oars” at a bargain-basement price.

Ralph Bernard


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