Message to Members on Sept. 30, 2020:
I know all of us are very concerned about news reports today (Sept. 30) that Boeing has already made the decision to consolidate the 787 production in Boeing South Carolina. Boeing has not made an announcement, nor have they notified the District that a decision has been made. The study to possibly consolidate the 787 production was initially announced on July 29 during the earnings call. And while no decision has been announced, the media is still speculating on what Boeing may decide.
Your Union believes this would be the wrong decision and, until a decision has been made, our Union will continue to request information and build on our proposal to maintain production of the 787 at the Everett site.
Since learning of Boeing’s consolidation study, our Union has been fighting to keep 787 production in Everett. We have been evaluating the data provided, as well as continuing to request additional information to ensure all aspects of this decision are being considered. We submitted an alternative proposal as provided for in Article 21.7 of the contract. Our proposal is based on the belief that:
- our workforce provides production stability for the 787 program,
- our members’ ability to stand up and question some of the decisions Boeing management has made regarding attacks on quality assurance protect the quality and integrity of the manufacturing process, and
- maintaining the capability and capacity in Everett protects the 787 program when increased production is necessary in the future, without additional costs
All of these circumstances make it the right decision for our members, our communities, airline customers, the entire 787 program and Boeing.
We met with the Company this morning to levy our concerns and discuss additional information that we have requested. In light of the Wall Street Journal article, we asked and Boeing told us that the decision to consolidate the 787 has not been made as of today. Our efforts are to ensure that Boeing is looking at the full scope and impact their decision will have, rather than focusing on a short-term reaction during an unprecedented global pandemic.
We continue to build the case that consolidating 787 production outside of Washington state may not result in cost savings at all. Losing 787 production capability and capacity in Everett puts the Company, our members and our community in jeopardy. We don’t believe Boeing has properly accounted for the costs associated with ramping up production at another location. Boeing has not taken into account the advantages that Washington State provides for our aerospace infrastructure. Boeing enjoys a skilled workforce, higher education programs and state-funded tax incentives to ensure the aerospace industry is as successful now as it has been for the last 100+ years. Partnerships have ensured we always have a strong pipeline of aerospace workers for the future.
As I have said before, these jobs are critical to our members and our community. However, we feel strongly that our members and our community have already earned these jobs and proven why the best business decision is to continue production in Everett.
We lobbied for tax incentives in support of landing the 787 final assembly for Washington in 2003. Our members worked through the problems associated with Boeing’s far-flung supply chain in order to support the 787’s entry into service in 2011. When the battery issue arose in 2013, it was SPEEA engineers and IAM members who delivered the solution. And today, we continue to rely on our Everett workforce to repair production and quality issues arising within the supply chain, before delivery to the customer – a testament to the talents and skills of our aerospace workforce in Washington.
Time and time again, our members and our communities have demonstrated why our state has the most efficient, productive aerospace manufacturing facilities in the world. This has been validated in the objective study completed by Richard Aboulafia entitled the 2019 Aerospace Competitive Economics Study (ACES) used to rank each state’s manufacturing capabilities using dozens of metrics that matter to companies making siting decisions.
We will continue to make the case to Boeing that the right decision is to maintain 787 production in Everett. However, in recent years, we know Boeing does not always choose the best decision for the long-term health of the company or our communities. We have earned this work and continue to prove every day why keeping the work here is the best decision!
District 751 President