Big Bad Boeing, and the union too

The big news in Washington today was the Boeing announcement that they would move the second 787 production line to South Carolina, a state well known for its high standards of political ethics and concern for labor. What is wonderful news for South Carolina is devastating news for Washington. Several thoughts come to mind.

One is that more than a few parochial opinionators in eastern Washington will smugly celebrate the comeuppance of those rich liberals on the other side of the mountains. I’m always a little surprised over their lack of awareness of how economically interconnected we all are.

Another is about corporate arrogance that operates with little or no sense of moral responsibility toward the communities in which they operate or the least concern for what their leaving will do to the social fabric of the place. Boeing, by the way, is not leaving – yet. Overpaid CEOs feel free to move corporate headquarters to locations close their homes or some other place that massages their egos. Corporate location managers feel free to move plants around based on deals for tax and labor cost breaks they know full well will never produce dividends for local jurisdictions, but they are such an easy sell to naïve local politicians. They remind me of the evil railroad and land barons in the old time westerns. You remember; the ones that were always grabbing the settlers’ land in underhanded ways.

Finally, and this may come to a surprise to some of my readers who know I tend to be pro-union; intransigent, pugilistic unions, such as the Machinists in Washington, would rather fight than get serious about negotiating. The climate for economic well being is poisoned whenever a union insists on presenting management as the bad guys while ignoring their own over the top demands.

OK, I think I’ve offended just about everyone. Now it’s time to sit back and see what fish the lure attracts.

4 thoughts on “Big Bad Boeing, and the union too”

  1. I think South Carolina's victory is going to be short lived. If lower labor costs is such a business driver for Boeing, no doubt the next stop is going to be China, or India, or Vietnam, or??? All of this reminds me of a book I read years ago by William Stringfellow titled \”An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land\” (I just love this title). In the book, Stringfellow argues that corporations above a certain size are inherently evil. At first blush it sounded a little nutty, but over the years I've come to think that he might have been onto something. Where's Teddy Roosevelt and his gang of trust busters when you need them? Best regards,Mike

  2. Mike,Stringfellow is one of those theologians I've heard abot and read about but never actually read. That' my loss. I am curious about the size he thinks is too big. I recall the big companies of my home town Minneapolis/St.Paul with companies such as General Mills, Honeywell, Pillsbury, 3M and others that were terrific corporate citizens. I think part of that was due to the continuing presence of founding families and senior executives who were themselves deeply involved in the community.Steve

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