A crowd of over 12,000 Boeing employees and guests gathered to observe the first flight of the 787 on December 15, 2009.

Bloomberg journalists John Lippert and Susanna Ray published an insightful article on Monday about the ups and downs of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner program. With input from Boeing CEO Jim McNearny and executive vice president Jim Albaugh, the lengthy article chronicles events at Boeing for the past few years and looks to the future. Anyone interested in the Everett-area economy would take notice of comments in the article by International Association of Machinists (IAMAW) union president Tom Buffenbarger, and other union leaders, who discussed the possibilities of what could happen when the union contract runs out in 2012.

The Bloomberg article reads:

McNerney’s biggest challenge may be establishing labor peace. Ever since McDonnell Douglas executives replaced longtime Boeing directors and the company moved its headquarters, union members have blasted their bosses.

“If Phil Condit was talking with a guy with a rivet gun, he knew what that person did,” says Mark Blondin, the machinists association’s aerospace coordinator. “People running this company now have never touched an airplane.”

Inciting a Strike?

One of Albaugh’s first decisions was to build a second 787 plant in South Carolina, where workers can’t be required to join unions. After four strikes in two decades, Boeing needs to keep up deliveries, Albaugh says.

Association President Tom Buffenbarger says Boeing is inciting a walkout in 2012, when the contract for 27,000 workers runs out.

“Their ability to sustain a long strike: I don’t know what it would be at that point,” he says.

McNerney says he’s puzzled when machinists, who earn $26 an hour, demand more money.

“The Chinese are coming,” he says. “The cozy world of just the two of us is almost over.”

For a full reading of the Bloomberg article, visit:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aVBzXp4D6xTs&pos=11

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