The Boeing employee who would put his family on a 737 Max
Whereas one Boeing employee told the Candy, Mike, and Todd Show on Monday that he would not put his family on a 737 Max plane right now, James Baldwin would.
“Knowing the levels of engineering they go through, and scrutiny,” Baldwin said. “And after all this attention, I can’t imagine they are going to cut one single corner at all to get that plane in the air. It’s going to be the safest airplane in the universe after all this. So yeah, I’d put my family, my kids, anybody on one of those things, because after this, it’s going to be the safest plane in the air.”
Baldwin spent 18 years working at Boeing; five years in a management role. His duties ranged from an integrated fuel cell mechanic, wing structure mechanic, and a manufacturing manager.
Baldwin contacted the Candy, Mike, and Todd Show to offer insight into the company culture leading up to the recent 737 Max crashes. He argues that Boeing leadership ignored its own policies in pursuit of production goals. He says some employees were chastised for speaking up about this.
Baldwin says Boeing’s current controversies are a combination of a couple factors: a disconnect between management and the people building the planes; and people cutting corners.
“I was a structures mechanic, and anyone who works in the structures field knows that tool marks or mislocating parts or things of that nature happen,” Baldwin said. “And I’ve seen people cover up their mistakes. I’m sure in my career, I’ve probably done it, too. Just for the sake of getting the job done, or not working overtime, or not having to create a rejection tag for your manager to give you corrective action.”
“And then there is also a disconnect between management and the workers and senior leadership,” he said. “Senior leadership works off of metrics and they’re not down in the trenches so all they’re looking at is a chart. And the manager down on the floor is trying to get things done. So people are just trying to make things happen and cover their butts, to make sure they are green on their metric and not red. It’s very convoluted and not necessarily ran as effectively as it could be.”
Boeing and the FAA
Among the criticism of Boeing in the wake of two deadly 737 Max crashes is that the relationship between the company and the FAA was a bit too cozy.
“We didn’t really see the FAA,” Baldwin said. “A senior leader would get an email saying the FAA is going to be in the factory. So basically everybody stops working and they go and clean the place and fix all the things, make sure all your chemicals are properly disposed of, all your drawings are contained, all your tools are accounted for. All the stuff they should be doing that they don’t do on a day-to-day basis, they do for the inspection. As soon as they leave, and they don’t get any fines, it goes back to the way it was before they came.”
“There’s always talk of random stop ins of the FAA, but in all my years I never once had an auditor come through,” he said. “Basically, you’re supposed to give them your name, your employee identification, and refer everything to your manager.”
In the end, Baldwin believes Boeing handled situation surrounding the crashes poorly.
“Two (crashes) is too many,” he said. “So many lives were lost. I think they could have done a way better job getting ahead of it, and showing remorse, instead of these kind of pathetic things they are dong now just to sell airplanes.”