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Boeing commits to $1 billion and 2,000 jobs in South Carolina

With lovely palm trees next to a Boeing Corporation sign, this can't be the Puget Sound area. Boeing is committed to expanding in South Carolina, adding 2,000 jobs within eight years. (Photo by Grace Beahm/postandcourier.com)

Boeing confirms, to a South Carolina newspaper first, that it will invest $1 billion and create 2,000 jobs over the next eight years in North Charleston.

A Boeing spokeswoman in South Carolina, Candy Eslinger, tells The Post and Courier the expansion will be at the company’s $750 million 787 assembly plant in North Charleston. The first 787 made in South Carolina rolled off the assembly line a year ago.

The amount committed today is on top of the $1 billion already spent to get a second 787 assembly line going and acquire land.

Boeing now has 6,000 employees in South Carolina. Boeing has about 86,000 employees in Washington.

Meanwhile, the local machinists union website notes the company’s last message to them, which was a March 22 notice about a reduction in employment levels for 2013. The impact was expected to be about 800 layoffs.

The South Carolina expansion news has a friend of mine, Seattle Times business columnist Jon Talton, saying Boeing’s going.

“It’s not news that big corporations have no loyalty, or that they will play states and localities off against each other in a blood sport made more desperate by a slow-growing economy,” he writes.

“The $3 billion in tax incentives Washington gave to Boeing to win the Dreamliner? That’s so yesterday, pal, what have you done for me lately? And it’s not just wage levels that are arbitraged, but presence or lack thereof of those pesky unions, which give workers some leverage and a voice. Non-unionized teammates are much more malleable, just grateful to have a job that’s not humping it at the Mount Pleasant Wal-Mart.”

And he suggests, “We have a decade or so to prepare for the transition. But it’s coming.”

Bold statement Jon. Do you agree with him?

By LINDA THOMAS

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