Mr. McNerney and Mr. Conner,
Every relationship is built on a foundation of “Trust”. How we behave in one aspect of our life carries over into other areas. Trust is just one of a number of building blocks that help to define our personal character and in your case as Presidents of Boeing, our Corporate Character. We are all asked to renew our commitment to the Boeing Company Ethical Business Conduct for All Boeing Employees every year. The long term image your building for this great Company is affected by how you both act with our customers, vendors, politicians and with the Union. You see, this battle is defining public opinion and your demonstrating poor behavior and the public and our customers are watching. There is a reason we don’t allow bullying in our schools and we should never allow it in the workplace. These behaviors erode trust and set a bad precedent for those to follow.
This fight you’ve created with the Union will ultimately define your legacy. Even if you win you will ultimately lose. The Pension, you’re fighting so hard to remove as a benefit is the thread that holds this delicate fabric together. Our “Pension drives our loyalty” it is what allows us to tolerate, exceptionally poor leadership at the lower levels, incomplete drawings, parts shortages, lack of vision, lack of inspiration, and lack of accountability at all levels and still show up, do our best work and deliver a quality product. I urge you both to better understand the implications of what you are asking, because if you are successful, your legacy will ultimately reflect your “winning” as the main reason for Boeing’s long term market decline. While we’re on the topic, the Union isn’t the reason for declining market share, you are.
There is so much low hanging fruit, opportunities to streamline and create efficiencies. If you invested as much time in solving our issues in house as you are lobbying against Union benefits you would be farther ahead. For example: You are both responsible for the Boeing Company being so top heavy 13 support and leadership people for every 1 mechanic. We lack accountability in all areas of our business, we pay extortionist rates for our parts and fasteners, we engineer an airplane a couple of times instead of doing it right the first time, our business is rooted in the past with processes that have not been updated in 30 years, we don’t manage to the processes already established with the Union, we don’t leverage technology, we promote from within even when applicants don’t demonstrate proper competencies, we are way behind the automation curve (we still pick parts by hand, etc.), and leadership practices are outdated and don’t reflect the needs of a younger workforce or women. We haven’t reorganized in years to better align our strengths to the needs of the business. I could go on and on with the challenges we face moving forward.
Mr. McNerney and Mr. Conner, I strongly encourage you to rethink your strategy, create a better vision for our future for our employees and the overall long term success of our business. We need you to do better, inspire more, and reach higher than you are today. We need you to inspire our customers, politicians, vendors and employees by working together with the Union to find a reasonable solution. Demonstrate through your actions how Corporate Leaders should behave. Work with the Unions to show the rest of the America how we can partner for a better tomorrow for all involved. Push people out of their comfort level, challenge the status quo and give us something we can really support and believe in. Partner with us to reinvent what a Union is in today’s workforce! Help us move toward a more performance based culture where both sides win!