Boeing machinists strike: cons, and pros?

By Courtney Howard
Posted by Courtney E. Howard

"No one benefits from a strike," Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, states in a message to Boeing employees in Washington, Oregon, and Kansas.


That seems to be the case, at first blush, but I wonder in this particular instance, if that is, in fact, completely accurate. I am fortunate for never knowing what it is to strike, but I have to wonder: what is the downside for these machinists striking? Conversely, what are the ramifications to mil-aero industry? Forgive my naivete, but those striking are reportedly gaining roughly $150 a week while on strike; and, they have already received (and rejected) an offer that includes pay increases, bonuses, and other incentives.


If we can believe what we read, the current labor stand-off can be summed up as follows:


Boeing's latest contract offer proposed an 11-percent wage increase over the three-year life of the contract, a one-time lump sum and ratification bonus, and other incentives that Boeing representatives revealed would add roughly $34,000 to the pay of the average machinist, who currently makes an estimated $65,000 a year, including overtime.


The International Association of Machinists (IAM) union seeks a 13-percent wage increase, no change to health care contributions, and the rollback of provisions allowing Boeing to outsource work.


What is the cost to everyone else? According to best estimates, the repercussions include $2.8 billion in lost revenue per month for Boeing, further delay of the Dreamliner 787, and suppliers potentially going out of business.


Carson's statement reads:


"The decision by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to reject our contract offer is deeply disappointing, to say the least. The union has turned down what is, by any measure, a truly exceptional offer -- bar none. Our company went to extraordinary lengths to conduct these negotiations in an atmosphere of openness and transparency that allowed more time to understand the key issues and create a package that is unquestionably the best in our industry.


"An 11 percent general wage increase -- combined with a lump-sum payment, a ratification bonus, cost-of-living adjustments, improved pension and health care coverage and other benefit enhancements -- all added up to an outstanding package that balanced the needs of the employees with ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the company. In addition, our negotiators removed several company proposals that the union saw as issues in order to keep the negotiations moving forward and to make progress toward a solution.


"As disappointing as the IAM decision is to us, the impact is considerably wider. Our customers are obviously going to be affected. They are counting on us, and any delay of our new, efficient airplanes is going to hurt an already strapped air transport industry burdened with high fuel costs. Our suppliers, too, will feel the impact quickly. And there's no question about the negative economic effect on our local communities. As we've said before, no one benefits from a strike.?


In a recent article (http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D933D49O1.htm), however, Daniel Lovering offers a potential "silver lining." "Suppliers will have time to untangle problems that have delayed the company's long-awaited 787 jetliner," as a result of the machinists strike, writes Lovering.


We in the press can speculate all we like, but we want to hear from you: the sub-contractors, suppliers, and customers.


How are you being affected by the strike? Do you anticipate problems down the road as a result of the ensuing Boeing strike and labor negotiations?


If you are struggling with a challenge, consider "bouncing" issues off (or simply venting to or commiserating with) industry peers in the Command Post online community at http://community.milaero.com/.

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.

Previous Blog Posts

Capital Hill budget deal could restore tens of billions of dollars to the Pentagon

December 17, 2013

Hacker drone story a cautionary tale about the need for unmanned vehicle data security

December 10, 2013

Lack of money for systems upgrades threatens to maintain wind-farm radar dead spots

December 3, 2013

Engineering support contracts indicate the Pentagon is sinking into the Mothball Strategy

November 26, 2013

The revenge of COTS: an ageing commercial technology base complicates military supply chain

November 19, 2013

Navy's newest destroyers evolve to fill traditional battleship roles

November 12, 2013

International suspicions of U.S. encryption technology putting defense companies in a bind

November 5, 2013

Defense industry left guessing as Army struggles forward with an unclear mission

October 29, 2013

These are tough times for the combat vehicle and vetronics industries

October 22, 2013

Is the government shutdown a harbinger of more ominous things to come?

October 15, 2013

Government shutdown reduces military contracting, increasing pressure on U.S. defense industry

October 7, 2013

Potential good news: has U.S. defense spending finally bottomed-out?

October 1, 2013

Is robotics revolution the first glimpse of a fundamental change in human evolution?

September 24, 2013

Obsolescent parts: are we enhancing military readiness or creating a hollow force?

September 17, 2013

For the high-tech warfighter, the future of electronics-laden uniforms is here

September 10, 2013

New generation of embedded computing thermal management in development at GE

September 3, 2013

Trading bus stops for credit cards: how far embedded computing has come in three decades

August 27, 2013

Unmanned vehicle industry stands at the doorstep of a fundamental transformation

August 20, 2013

AUVSI 2013, one of the biggest unmanned vehicles shows in the world, opens this week in Washington

August 13, 2013

The Washington Post, under Jeff Bezos, could lead the way for media in the 21st Century

August 6, 2013

Are costs and vulnerabilities making military leaders nervous about satellite communications?

July 30, 2013

Unmanned aircraft carrier that travels beneath the waves may be in the Navy's future

July 23, 2013

Electronic warfare programs kick into high gear with a flurry of contract activity

July 16, 2013

How vulnerable are U.S. Navy vessels to advanced anti-ship cruise missiles?

July 9, 2013

First came VHSIC, then came MIMIC, and now comes ACE to push electronics technology

July 2, 2013

The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

December 2013
Volume 24, Issue 12
file

All Access Sponsors


Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Connect with Us



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE