From a PR perspective Boeing has created a situation where they can place blame on both sides regardless of the outcome. The Union for rejecting the unreasonable proposals offered by Boeing and the States for not meeting the demands set forth in the criteria for acceptance i.e. the States proposals fall short of our demands so we have no choice but to go back and deal with an unreasonable Union. They’ve also created an environment of fear, we know that fear drives the people in this great country to make poor decisions. It’s a well organized PR initiative and our current Union leaders are not prepared to defend such an attack.
As I listen to the sticking points of the negotiation the “Pension” looks to be the biggest issue on the table. The Union should consider getting out in front and starting a different conversation in the media and our members. Here were my thoughts..
Pension and Trust:
The Boeing Company and the Union have struggled the past 20 years to build Trust. We can all accept Trust is fundamental in any discussion, either with a spouse, friend, co-worker or in the this case a Union Leader and a President. Washington State and the Union have already been mislead once when a portion of the 787 moved to South Caroline. These actions erode trust and make it difficult to have open and honest dialogue. Over time, Union members have lost Trust in the Boeing Company.
There is however an organization members Trust even less than the Boeing Company and that is “Wall Street”. To suggest to these hard working people they place their retirement in the hands of Wall Street bankers is absurd. How in good faith can the Boeing Company ask it’s workforce to Trust those that just about bankrupt the Country. The current pension plan provides protections from abuse and a guarantee of a modest retirement. Some security in a very unstable economy.
If a 401K program is so great for our members why not allow the members the option to choose which retirement plan they would prefer. Build an optional retirement program that Union members can select like we do with our health coverage instead of bullying us into accepting a retirement package we feel we can’t Trust to be their when we retire.
Market Share and Ray Conner:
The Boeing Company continues to position the Union as the main reason for the Company losing market share to Airbus. The fact that Boeing has been losing market share for some time is widely known. Boeing is claiming they need to cut costs to stay competitive, at time when they are posting record profits. They point their finger at the Union ,claiming we are the reason for their troubles. They site an unstable workforce as an issue but we have not had a strike for almost 6 years and by the time our current contract expires we will have 9 strike free years. So here is a call out to Mr. Conner. We produce the highest quality aircraft in the world at a competitive price. We provide the best service in the industry. We employ the best workforce in the world. Mr. Conner if you can’t sell against Airbus, if you can’t “win” against Airbus with the portfolio of products we deliver to the market place, you should look for a different job and we might consider recruiting your counterpart from Airbus. If we’re losing market share it’s not because of the Union, it’s because of your lack of core competency to get the job done. Now, we can continue to point fingers or we can come together and have solution based discussions that move us closer to our common goals. We can partner to find solutions and establish Trust along the way.
If Boeing won’t support and respect it’s workforce maybe someone else will. We might consider placing an add asking Airbus to come to Seattle, we have a workforce waiting and willing to support any Company willing to maintain our current standard of living which must include a Pension. If the Boeing Company won’t show loyalty to it’s workforce we will no longer show loyalty to the Boeing Company..