Holden: McNerney remarks are ‘astounding and sad’

SeattleTownhallHSEATTLE — Jon Holden, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751, issued the following statement to union members in response to Boeing Co. CEO Jim McNerney’s flippant remarks about “cowering employees” during the company’s second-quarter earnings call on July 23.

“If anyone had wondered whether Boeing’s relationship with its own workers could come to a new low, it happened yesterday. Jim McNerney’s disdain and arrogance in his public comments degrade and devalue the proud Boeing Commercial Airplanes workforce, which is delivering record numbers of airplanes and record profit margins. It is astounding and sad that the leader of this company can relish forcing his employees to cower down to him, like he was some kind of third-world dictator, and it shows what he really thinks of Boeing employees – whether they’re members of the IAM, SPEEA, non-union employees or even management.

“Our members cower to no one. For generations, Boeing employees have been proud of the work they perform. They work 10- and 12-hour days, designated weekends as well, to achieve the production goals. They believe in the products they build and they ensure that the customers receive quality products. Because of this, they generate tremendous profits for Boeing.

“These remarks are not worthy of the position McNerney is speaking from and certainly do not represent this group of amazing people who work hard every day to make Boeing successful. Making such a public statement to the world about your employees does nothing to increase productivity and demonstrates why morale is at an all-time low. It makes you wonder if the board of directors has the same contempt for the very workers that generate so much value for the board.

“Boeing employees deserve better than this.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 32,000 working men and women at 50 employers across Washington, Oregon and California.

To hear the audio file with McNerney’s comments, click here.

18 Responses to “Holden: McNerney remarks are ‘astounding and sad’”
  1. Boyd Wells says:

    Really? My family has a legacy with this company. My grandma, uncles, ect. What a horrible comment. Do we all see how he feels now? We had all assumed, but from his own mouth. A new generation is coming to the Boeing company as so many amazing men and women leave. We need to stand against such disrespect. This is why the men and women before us fought so hard. Now is the time to band together and DEMAND better, DEMAND what we deserve. Attitudes in management tend to trickle down, if that is the case here, god help us if we do nothing. This is OUR company. Please do not let Jim McNerney destroy it.

  2. Shineyo says:

    ” It makes you wonder if the board of directors has the same contempt for the very workers that generate so much value for the board.”

    Listen to the giggles in the background ~~~~

  3. algupta says:


    It is sad management makes such a remark. Power intoxicates people.
    Best wishes to all.

  4. s t e a l t h says:

    It was clearly a joke comment, but hey, let’s all go on strike over it. Storm, let me introduce teacup.

  5. s.a.venema says:

    “Oderint Dum Metuant”- let them hate, so long as they fear Julius Caesar

  6. I am disgusted by the comments of this leader. He is the reason for the problems with massive executive welfare. Leaders come in from other companies, not to share creative ways to build a stronger unit, but to increase profits by reducing labor quality. Then they add Boeing as a few lines on their lengthy Bio before moving on to the next victim. Jim McNerney is a board focused leader, not a company leader. Hack that piece of garbage, give him nothing when he leaves and let’s build some fricking airplanes.

    The face of Boeing should be someone that cares about the company, not just the board.

  7. GL says:

    Cowering ? Now he claims he didn’t mean to say that. YES YOU DID JIMMY !!! That’s why it came out. I have been with Boeing for 37 years and since the days of TA Wilson and even Frank Shrontz we haven’t had anyone as our CEO who has deserved any respect what so ever. Cower ? Sorry Jim but who makes these comments from Chicago ? Come to the factory floor and say that !!!

    • lacorota says:

      The only cowards I’ve seen are his managers. They hide behind their clipboards in their protective bubbles at the Portland site. They are afraid to “manage” when the difficult tasks face them. Their hope — by design and game — is pitting union member against union member.

  8. JetJockey says:

    You broke Boeing’s code of conduct Jimmy.


    Now here’s you CAM!

    • lacorota says:

      CAM, hah! The board of directors likely gave him a significant pay raise! He views the union membership as a bunch of groveling bed-wetters wearing cute slogan t-shirts on the factory floor.

  9. Vince says:

    The die is struck, the pensions will be gone, the medical benefits wither away. Mr. Inslee now see’s who he got in bed with about the last blackmail contract, along with those politicians who joined him. And, the arrogance has come to roost upon anyone working for Boeing or is a support company for them. Let alone when the choices made recently will have an effect on the state of Washington in the future when boeing workers need assistance to get by, 401 K’s are just a way for Wallstreet to own you till the day you die. It will NEVER be as solid as pensions. But easy come, easy go, as long as Boeing upper management and politicians have them even though they were no good for the common worker according to them. They will somehow be able to make it for themselves in life. Forget anyone else “below” them…….

  10. Mr. Solidarity ! says:

    We the proud members of the I.A.M. 751 will not soon forget this comment. Remember Jimmy, WE control production here at Boeing. Time for a Aug. 22 1 day sick-out !!

  11. lacorota says:

    Sadly, the recent statement from the CEO of one of the planet’s largest companies defines his management style — intimidation, fear, condescension — and his perception of employees as cowards — employees who are responsible for making the reliable products affording continued company success and a respected global name.

    Though he made a public apology for his remarks — dismissing it as a joke gone bad — those on the factory floor know what McNerny really wants isn’t respect, but blind, slave obedience, cowering, and a workforce groveling for his table scraps.

    Motivation by fear-based intimidation eventually fails; you’ve disappointed those turning the taps and making your company succeed. To be sure, in the short-term, the trickle-down philosophy of motivating by fear may yield productivity. In the longer chapter, however, that fear-driven motive will sour, and productivity plummets with a leader’s demonstrated lack of respect, dignity and, moreover, trust. Trust is an earned virtue.

    The legacy of respected aerospace industry leaders before — Frank Shrontz, for one — will be fables, but remembered as a time when leaders commanded a broad measure of genuine respect. In turn, such respect is reciprocated as pride in workmanship from a loyal and productive workforce. The cornerstone of company programs, policies, procedures, and training became mere ink on paper with these recent condescending remarks from Boeing’s CEO. Accountability for respect, dignity, and trust starts with examples set by leadership. Are your employees pawns-for-profit as the statement suggests?

    Remind me to avoid the instructors and schools teaching this doctrine of fear. I would suggest you re-read your managers’ operating manual — Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” for example, — and apply it from the top down.

    There is no team with such remarks; it’s you, and them. It’s more than a joke gone bad, it’s no joke at all.

    So, “McTyrant,” let’s turn the clocks of labor and industry back 100 years to those fond times when companies could threaten employees, instill fear and cowering, employ child labor, and disregard environmental stewardship for profits. It’s one of those bellwether statements signaling a new low in global workplace leadership.

  12. lacorota says:

    Caveat: awaiting moderation is a euphemism for “does it fit Buffy’s agenda.” If not, it will be editorialized or omitted. It’s clear our wings were clipped by Buffy this past January. Buffy holds the purse strings to Locals’ therefore limiting what may, or may not be said — and when. Where Buffy dictates locals’ read from his approved script, we individual members still have VOICE. Remember: democracy is NOISY. McTyrant views us as mud on his boots to be brushed away. While Buffy may fly high overhead in his Lear Jet, it seems McTyrant and governor Inslee command the cockpit.

    • Mr. Solidarity ! says:

      Buffy aka Barfinbagger, is nothing more than a stooge for McTyrant and Ray Conjob. No one is looking out for our best interests, except us. After beening forced to swallow this last extension, OUR union had the nerve to raise our dues by 5.00 bucks. I guess for the wonderful job they did getting us such a great deal. Gov. Instep better enjoy his 4 years, I seriously doubt he will have another chance to knife us in the back again.

  13. lacorota says:

    Yes, the price of jet fuel for Barfinbagger’s Lear jet increased so he had to pass it along to the membership. McTyrant and Ray Conjob are laughing their asses off — little by little, they’ve put the union in the palm of their hands. Conjob, McTyrant, and governor Instep perceive us not as “fighting” machinists, but bed-wetters groveling for his table scraps.

  14. Chris says:

    It blows my mind that this guy is in power. Is there nothing that we can do to encourage him to retire at 65? Not only has he brought morale to a new low, but he is working really hard to bring quality to an equally new low. By outsourcing and squeezing suppliers he risks a compromised product. By killing our pensions, medical and morale, he reduces the number of new job applicants. Why would anyone new take a job with such a volatile employment history for equal or less benefits than any other company? When Boeing was the leader in benefits, including affordable medical, pensions and leave, many folks were likely to forgive the fact that every 6-8 years they may face layoff, and that every 4 years they would face a labor strike. Now, it’s simply not worth it, and educated, qualified and worthy potential employees are simply going to go elsewhere for employment. The result will be the same folks that make a career at Burger King becoming the leaders in the talent pool. These actions are terrible for the future of the company and share holders should be alarmed! Sure right now they are rolling in cash that we have sacrificed for them to have, but how can they be unaware that this model is only good for short term money?? It’s unsustainable. It’s time for McNerney to go. What can we do to make this happen and save this once proud company?

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