Boeing employee: I would not put my family on a Max plane right now
He’s a Boeing employee, speaking on conditions of anonymity to The Candy, Mike, and Todd Show as the 737 Max controversy continues.
“I think about my children and I think about my wife and how much they mean to me, but my career means a lot to me as well,” he said. “If I had to go up to those test flights, I would. Would I send my family on a flight right now? No. Not in a million years.”
Stuart (not his real name) works more with the 777X model, not the Max that has garnered negative press. The 777x has made headlines, too, recently as the model has been delayed. The Seattle Times reports the 777X has an issue with its new GE9X engine. Meanwhile, the 737 Max plane remains grounded as the company scrambles to develop a fix for software problems that are blamed for two deadly crashes within a year.
Stuart argues that Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg inherited a range of issues from previous leadership. These issues include bad relationships with suppliers. He said previous leadership “despised engineers.” And he says he would hate to see Muilenburg go. Still, he doesn’t paint a picture of a happy work environment.
“The way management kind of works is we never really know who our managers are sometimes,” he said. “We get shuffled around so much that our job codes, our job titles, everything changes. Because they are trying to make progress. With the Max being down, they are bringing other people down, trying to correct the issues and trying to make it a better place.”
“…And the morale around the entire plant is down,” Stuart said. “Seems like most people I work with don’t care about their job anymore, they are just there to collect a paycheck.”
Stuart said that there are rumors about changes or layoffs floating around the company as it weathers the current storm. He says that employees receive emails daily or weekly about the issues Boeing faces, some with videos from Muilenburg telling them to keep their chins up, talking about the crashes, and other issues.
“I’m trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I don’t think we are going to,” Stuart said.
“…. grounding these planes is hurting everybody,” he said. “When you go out to any program, everyone is running around like a chicken with their head cut off not knowing what to do, where to go, and how to fix any kind of mistake before it happens.”
An issue with the recent Max crashes seems to be that pilots were unaware of new software systems on new models. Stuart alleges that Boeing leadership previously told employees that it was the responsibility of the companies who bought the aircraft to teach the pilots about these systems – such as the MCAS system that failed in two Max planes, causing crashes.
“All I know is that, the way things are going right now, as far as I’ve talked to my co-workers, a lot of my managers, is we were lied to,” he said. “We received emails, we saw the videos, we were told certain things such as ‘the companies that bought these planes, a lot of them, their countries didn’t require them to go through the test flight process that needed to happen.’ So we were told, ‘Hey, that’s not on us, that’s on them. We have this program, they’re suppose to take it, they don’t have to take it, that teaches them how to use this thing.’”
Stuart says that he wants to trust Boeing’s CEO and other management.
“I want to,” he said. “I want to think that I work for one of the best companies in the world. I want to think that when I come home from a 10-12 hour shift that I’ve done something good. But I don’t know because I see the lies. They’re going back on everything that they’ve told us. So it’s really difficult for me to feel good about any of it.”
Stuart does have faith in his colleagues he works with everyday, however. But he remains nervous about Boeing’s 737 Max planes.
“I’m going to be honest, I put faith in my company, I put faith in my co-workers, I wouldn’t have a problem getting on that plane myself,” he said. “I don’t know if I’d put my family on it. But I would never have a problem doing it because I trust who I work with.”