Is Boeing preparing to leave Washington state and the greater Seattle area once and for all? If Boeing does leave, how big will the economic impact on Seattle and the Pacific Northwest?
As much as I don’t like to think about it, Seattle might need a wake up call regarding the seriousness of the situation regarding Boeing. Currently, there is a formal national labor complaint against Boeing; while Boeing labor disputes are common, this particular labor dispute is different from any that I’ve seen.
As described by The Washington Times, which is probably one of the most conservative newspapers in the United States the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has made a formal complaint against Boeing. The NLRB would like Boeing to stop work on the new facility that Boeing is currently building in South Carolina. From the conservative perspective of The Washington Times, the NLRB’s complaint is absolutely wrong because of the “burdensome” disputes with union that Boeing has had to endure over time and the idea that a corporation should be able to choose where to build new facilities.
South Carolina is what is known as a “right to work” state, which means that the workers are able to choose whether are not they wish to join a union. Boeing is claiming that the plant is being built for the purpose of working on the three Dreamliner jets that Boeing recently received an order for.
Meanwhile, an engineer that I spoke with who is working on the new plant in South Carolina had some interesting things to say. He said that work on building the buildings and equipment in South Carolina was still continuing at full speed despite the complaint. According to him, everything is still on schedule and the new South Carolina Boeing facility will be completed at the end of the year.
In addition, he claimed that Boeing already has a list of some workers to be transferred to the new facility; I don’t know whether or not the transfer list would be just for employees to open the new facility or for workers to remain there more permanently.
The likelihood of Boeing building a facility to complete one order of three planes seems highly unlikely. Although Boeing is claiming that the 27,000 machinist workers in Washington State won’t lose their jobs or be affected by the new plant, that assertion just isn’t logical. Boeing is obviously going to continue fighting against the complaint made by the NLRB. And, if the new facility is completed on schedule, it will be there waiting in the near future. Why would Boeing waste its time and money building a new facility just to complete one order?