Labor shows solidarity with Boeing Machinists

The labor community is standing strong with Machinists at the Boeing Co., saying they should not be blamed for the Company’s ill-advised decision to locate a second line in South Carolina.


The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers wasted no time blasting Boeing for making a “charade” of recent talks about a potential contract extension for District 751, and accused Boeing executives of “blaming their own workers for a decision to establish operations in yet another distant and high risk environment.”

“Boeing’s goal was not an agreement that would keep the work in Washington state,” said IAM Vice President Rich Michalski, who joined District 751 President Tom Wroblewski and IAM Boeing Coordinator Mark Blondin for the meetings with management.

District 751’s brothers and sisters at SPEEA, the union for engineers and technicians at Boeing, said they were “astounded” at the South Carolina decision.


“There is no credible business case for this decision,” said SPEEA executive director Ray Goforth, who leads the proud “nerds” who design, test and certify Boeing’s birds. Putting a second line 2,990 miles from from the first will only hurt a program already stretched to its limits, he said.

Goforth told that South Carolina is “a pit that Boeing is going to be throwing money and people into for a long time.”

Without any clear economic argument for the change, Goforth told the Web site he assumes Boeing management was motivated by an interest in scaring or shedding its union employees.

“I think it’s part of a much bigger anti-union strategy,” Goforth said. “I think they had already decided to do this and it was a way to land a mortal blow on the Machinists and to cow the other unions.”

Meanwhile, District 751 Members themselves spoke out, telling The Seattle Times they feel they’ve been unfairly scapegoated for management decisions regarding the 787.

IAM workers on the 787 line in Everett spend countless hours trying to fix the mistakes of undertrained and inexperienced assembly workers in Charleston, said Steward Bobbie Skar. “The community here is going to suffer,” she told the newspaper. “Boeing is going to suffer, because they don’t have the trained work force in South Carolina.”


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