Oct. 28 was a black day in Washington state and Everett. Boeing served notice that they are no longer going to tolerate a strike at four out of six negotiations, and the high cost of doing business in Washington.
The governor of South Carolina called a special session of the Legislature and they passed a package of incentives to lure not only Boeing, but the whole aerospace industry. What was done here in Washington to keep a major, if not the most important, employer in the state? Good wishes from the governor and a Johnny-Come-Lately effort from a senator. We hear that Boeing wanted a guarantee of no work stoppage for a period of time in exchange for binding arbitration. The union demanded to add wage increases. Washington is a high business tax state. There was no effort to give relief.
Unless there is a change in the attitude of the union and the Legislature, Boeing will be completely gone in 10 years. A good start would be for the Machinists union to take down the sculpture of a fist-shaking picketer standing next to his burn barrel that now stands near their headquarters. Is it wise for the Legislature and the union to stand on their demands and see all the jobs leave the state?
Take a good look at Detroit and the state of Michigan and their 20 percent unemployment rate after high business taxes and unwise labor contracts destroyed the domestic auto industry in that state. Auto manufacturing is now flourishing in the low-tax, conservative South. I doubt that the union and the Legislature will be wise enough to compete on those terms. They will watch Boeing leave and try to blame it on “betrayal.”