Whose salaries deserve scrutiny?

Regarding the Sunday letter about “overpaid” workers at Boeing that has IAM members out on strike: Those “overpaid” workers have a starting wage of $9.72 per hour, which is not significantly higher than the minimum wage in this state. It takes many years for these workers to work their way up the wage ladder.

The “parts pickers” do have a relatively simple job when they first start at Boeing. But with experience, that job evolves into a fairly complex range of responsibilities in assuring “the right parts get to the right shop at the right time” to keep the people who actually build an airplane working, keep our production line moving and delivering airplanes to our airline customers on time.

These “overpaid” folks have worked hard to implement process improvements that have made parts handling at Boeing significantly more efficient over the last 10 to 15 years. Now the company wants to dump them and bring in lower-paid workers to do their work.

In the Boeing News on Monday, there was a timely article in which Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney told reporters at an event sponsored by The Business Council, in response to a question about recent harsh criticisms of big business during the U.S. presidential campaign, that “It is an easy issue to demagogue.

“There have been some missteps by some corporations and by some corporate leaders. We all have to face up to that and make sure that kind of behavior doesn’t happen in our companies on our watch.”

Well, it’s Mr. McNerney’s watch and it appears he is making a significant misstep in continuing the Corporate America policy of eliminating our middle class just to put a few million more dollars into the pockets of folks like himself, who have huge compensation packages that pay whether they do a good job or not. Now, I could be wrong, but maybe this is where the “overpaid” folks can be found.

Rolf Dahmen


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