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If Machinists reject contract, the younger workers they’re protecting may be in China

For Boeing Machinists who think our local aerospace company is bluffing — listen again to what Senator Patty Murray said, “I do know that the competition is very tough and there are a lot of people rooting for our failure.”

She’s a Democrat. A big union supporter. But she knows why Boeing is trying to cut its expenses: competition.

I heard one protestor Monday night say we’re not going to sell out our younger members. “We have gone on strike for months for contracts that are way better than this. There is no way we can take this. There is no way we’re selling out younger members – absolutely not.”

Well, that’s true. Once you vote “no,” you’ll set up a future where there won’t be any younger members in this area to sell out.

Because Boeing is not just in competition with Airbus, it’s competing with a narrow-bodied, single aisle plane set to rival Boeing and Airbus, the only other two in its class.

It’s China’s C919. I know it’s tempting to think it’s not much competition, since the maiden flight was postponed.

It was scheduled to make it’s first flight next year, but it’s not been delayed until 2015 for “safety reasons.”

But Boeing has also been known to postpone maiden flights. This plane has western partners, like Honeywell, and competes with the 737. According to a report last week on Chinese State TV, it now has 400 orders.

So far, the plane has been sold to 16 customers, in and outside of China. “The production of the largest portions of the aircraft will be completed next year. Orders for the C919 show increasing confidence for aircrafts made in China,” said a news report.

And China isn’t the only new competitor. Embraer, based in Brazil, will have a similar regional jet in 2018.

I’m pretty sure the Machinists Union leadership is aware of this. Back in my political days when I ran for Congress, I met with the then-leadership of the union, who told me they explained it was just tough convincing the rank and file that the international competition was real.

Well, here we are ten years later and it’s real.

So vote as you will, but keep in mind that a NO vote means that a lot of those future workers you’re protecting will probably be in China and Brazil.

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