Monday, November 02, 2009

IAM union bluffed Boeing and lost

Boeing's money isn't good enough for them. Last year's strike cost Boeing a lot of money and damaged the company's reputation by delaying the 787 by at least two months and by the delivery delays in other products and contracts. The Official Blog of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation:
... The 2008 strike was Boeing’s fourth in just two decades, and, at 57 days, the longest since the 69-day strike in 1995, which “poisoned morale for years.” According to the AP, the 2008 strike cost Boeing $100 million a day in deferred revenue and postponement of the 787. That kind of loss won’t be recouped for years. Boeing’s final offer to the machinists prior to last year’s strike included a 14 percent monthly pension increase, a 2008 lump-sum bonus worth about $3,900 on average, a generous new incentive-pay plan and other perks. All told, Boeing estimated the package was worth an additional $34,000 in extra compensation to the machinists over three years. But it wasn’t enough. The machinists’ unreasonable display of “solidarity” has landed them squarely in the boat of irrelevant (sic). Union leaders foolishly carried on as though competition from other states did not exist. “Given the country's economic condition, it would be hard for Boeing or any company right now to make the investments needed to put Charleston in the realm of a first-class aircraft-assembly site," Tom Buffenbarger, the machinists’ president told the Seattle Times this July. The union called Boeing’s bluff, and turned out to be wrong.
It wasn't a bluff.
For its part, Boeing had had enough. Just after the company made the South Carolina announcement, Boeing’s vice president of human resources and one of the lead negotiators in the talks with the machinists told the Times that the company was “unwilling to indulge the kind of last-minute brinkmanship that has been typical in all recent contract negotiations with the [machinists].” [The article linked at the Seattle Times has been removed by the Times.]

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