Self-inflicted ‘union busting’
February 7, 2009 7 Comments
It seems the Richard Branson, the owner of Virgin Media and the new V Airlines, has no problem saying what no Boeing worker would dare even think:
“The strike hurt hundreds of thousands of our passengers,” Branson told reporters. “It messed up Virgin Atlantic, it messed up Virgin Blue in Australia, it ruined people’s Christmas holidays. It was absolutely and utterly ghastly.”
He continued, “If union leaders and management can’t get their act together to avoid strikes, we’re not going to come back here again. We’re already thinking, ‘Would we ever risk putting another order with Boeing?’ It’s that serious.”
Nice job Unions! Thanks to you, Boeing’s chief rival was able to play some catch-up and Boeing has already this year announced thousands of job cuts, partially to make up for revenue lost during the 57-day strike, which began on Sept. 3, right about the time the economy was circling the bowl and just a few weeks before it totally tanked, taking over every news cycle and the presidential campaign.
And what did they get while they were bringing down the company and regional economy?
The average Machinist base wage for the past year was about $54,000, and with overtime about $65,000.
Extrapolating from data provided previously by Boeing, at the end of the new four-year contract in 2012, the average base annual salary will rise to about $73,000, and with overtime included about $85,000.
So they went on strike because $25,000 above the national salary wasn’t enough? Way to strike yourselves out of jobs. You had good jobs with good benefits, but you wanted more.
Union officials had a long list of issues with the final offer from Boeing: inadequate compensation increases, especially for workers lower down on the wage ladder; an insufficient pension increase; costs added to the medical-benefits plan; and refusal to commit to reducing outsourcing of future work from local factories.
Now, one of the customers himself is actually blaming the unions for his company not coming back to Boeing.
And the company doesn’t need that, especially not this year.
Indeed, Boeing has started 2009 losing more orders than it has won. Boeing said Thursday it won 18 orders in January and lost 31 through cancellations.
Branson is not the only one pointing out how the union managed to take aim and fire into its own feet:
Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group in Fairfax, Va., predicts Boeing will eventually pull up its commercial airplane stakes in Seattle and follow in the auto industry’s path to Southern states with weaker unions and right-to-work laws that diminish union power.
… Analyst Joseph Campbell, with Barclays Capital, agrees. “Boeing is now more likely than less likely to take work out of the Pacific Northwest and put it somewhere else where they think people will be more grateful,’’ he said. “It’s not vengeful — just business.”
Thanks, unions! Way to eat your young!