Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

25 responses to “Poll: Boeing’s deal with the Machinists’ Union”

  1. Kary L. Krismer

    Comments on the topic from the open thread:

    By Macro Investor @ 45:

    Well, it looks like the Boeing machinists came to their senses, so Tim won’t be the last person living in Everett.

    The state also gave Boeing the largest tax break in history. Guess that means they’ll be raising taxes for the rest of us to make up for it. That should make all the western WA democrats happy. They love paying high taxes so that money can be given to someone who is either rich, or prefers sitting at home watching TV all day. In this case, the already rich are the Boeing senior execs and major shareholders.

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 47:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 45 – I’ve been critical of Boeing management, but this long-shot move by them really paid off. I feel sorry for all those other states that wasted their time competing.

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  2. Ira Sacharoff

    I’m glad that they approved it, and I’m sad that they approved it.
    Glad because it probably was the wisest choice. Keeping a decent paying job, even while losing the pension and paying more for healthcare, is still better than no job. If I were a machinist, I would have held my nose and voted yes.
    Sad because these folks and their predecessors fought to gain a pension, and it’s not easy giving something up that has been fought for. Also, Boeings ” Give us what we want or we’ll take our marbles and go play elsewhere” threat reminds me too much of football and baseball team owners who demand that the taxpayers build them a stadium that the taxpayers can’t afford to buy tickets to. In this instance, the State of Washington is giving Boeing billions in tax subsidies as part of this deal, while revenues to the state are down and infrastructure is crumbling.

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  3. Blurtman

    Capital wins. Labor loses. That’s the idea. Perhaps Boeing will relocate to Alabama, where they can find a cheaper CEO.

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  4. Pegasus

    So much for the Tim’s prior article predicting the doom of Everett a bit prematurely. Perhaps he will learn how the real world operates and not overreact on every media blitz that comes along. I guess the offenders that live in the Tim’s neighborhood will have to continue living there now that the space to be created by Boeing leaving won’t become vacant anytime soon….like for 30 years or more……

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  5. Pegasus

    RE: The Tim @ 5 – You jumped the shark on that one! How about another fear-mongering post about a tsunami wiping out Seattle like you did after the one in Japan? Another humorous post?

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  6. One Eyed Man

    RE: The Tim @ 5

    While manufacturing may be staying in Everett, I’m not so sure the same is true about engineering. How many Boeing engineers need to be anywhere near the manufacturing facility?

    A friend of mine who reports directly to one of the guys in the Boeing annual report found out a couple of weeks ago that his job is being moved to Al-a-bam-a. (Just seeing the word Alabama makes me feel like Forest Gump which some may consider inappropriate profiling, but being as all my life some have viewed me as intellectually “challenged,” I personally identify with Forest, so so-what). Just because they’ll still build planes here doesn’t mean that they won’t try to wash away SPEEA with a Crimson Tide “right to work” tsunami. Moving to low cost jurisdictions is just an available means for capitalists to compete in a global economy. And you don’t have to make the same infrastructure investment to move the engineers as you would to move manufacturing. I’m not saying they’ll move large segments of what is currently local engineering but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    What does surprise me is how many on the right believe they’re for keeping big government out of private sector business decisions with “right to work” laws. What they don’t understand is that in this context their laissez faire idealism is misplaced. “Right to work” laws are government regulation that says unions can’t negotiate for things like the right to have the employer require that everyone join the union and/or pay dues. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-work_law

    Those who associate “right to work” with laissez faire capitalism don’t understand that “right to work” is big government regulation of the private sector, not the government staying out of the private sector. If they were unconditionally laissez faire capitalists they would be against government regulation whether its called “right to work” or more correctly termed the regulation of what a union can negotiate for.

    Please note that I’m not necessarily against “right to work” laws. I’m just against bogus labels like “right to work laws” and “the Patriot Act.” (Should that include the “Affordable Care Act” too or is the jury still out pending the long term effects of implementation?) I’m in favor of regulation to limit the non-competitive effects of monopolies. What are termed “right to work” laws may well be necessary to avoid union monopolization of the labor market. By the same token, employment regulation may be necessary to ameliorate the lack of competition between employers when a big business monopolizes the job market for certain types of skills. Laissez faire only works when there is competition in the market place or limited barriers to entry so that competition can easily emerge.

    That said, I consider it an unfair labor practice to move jobs to Al-a-bam-a. They’ve got too many bugs and poisonous snakes and its way too hot and humid.

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  7. Macro Investor

    By One Eyed Man @ 7:

    RE: The Tim @ 5
    That said, I consider it an unfair labor practice to move jobs to Al-a-bam-a.

    This is really simple, folks. There are WAY MORE people on this earth than there will ever be productive jobs for them. That means companies have all the power in labor negotiations. If you doubt that, look up the UN stats yourself — something like 5 billion people live on $10 a day or less.

    There’s no use getting upset about it. If Boeing didn’t cram down costs, Airbus or the Chinese companies would drive them out of business. Either way, Seattle would lose the jobs and the rich execs and shareholders would get most of the benefit. At least this way a few workers continue on.

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  8. One Eyed Man

    RE: Macro Investor @ 8

    Just to be clear Macro, the line about unfair labor practice was a joke poked at the Machinists Union’s claim that moving jobs to South Carolina was an unfair labor practice. I think the NLRB claim over jobs being moved to South Carolina was purely a Union negotiating tool with little merit, just as non-job related concerns about bugs and weather would have little if any merit as an unfair labor practice claim.

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  9. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 7 – What’s unfair about right to work laws, as I understand them, is that if a company does get unionized in such a state, the union is required to represent all the workers, regardless of whether of not they join the union and pay dues. It’s sort of like Obamacare and pre-existing conditions. Not a union member? No problem, you still get covered.

    It’s also seemingly a very short sighted way for a state to go, because both in theory and practice it doesn’t lead to prosperity for the state. The most talented workers will move elsewhere, where they can be paid more, and the ones that stay won’t be earning enough money to fully support the secondary economic activity that employment typically offers a community.

    As to post 9, I don’t think it’s S. Carolina that was the issue as much as the manner in which the threat was made. I don’t recall all the facts on that one, but there are things you cannot say or do during negotiations. And people sometimes make mistakes, both unions and companies.

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  10. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: The Tim @ 11 – Stupidest saying of all time. I wonder why it’s so popular?

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  11. mmmarvel

    I work at an airport in Texas. We HAD a tour with Boeing executives scheduled for this morning. Since the contract was approved, the ‘tour’ was cancelled this morning. Kinda says it all, doesn’t it?

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  12. mmmarvel

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 10:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 7 – It’s also seemingly a very short sighted way for a state to go, because both in theory and practice it doesn’t lead to prosperity for the state. The most talented workers will move elsewhere, where they can be paid more, and the ones that stay won’t be earning enough money to fully support the secondary economic activity that employment typically offers a community..

    Maybe, maybe not – how much more will you be making if you don’t have to cough up union dues? People get tired watching others doing nothing (or next to nothing) but are ‘protected’ by union, making it extremely difficult to get rid of dead wood. Due to union rules you can’t do things that make sense, like unload an entire truck because some of the merchandise can only be unloaded by a member of a brother union. While there are positive sides to a union, there are also a lot of negative sides.

    While I’ve never been in this position, my feeling has always been (and I’ve HAD to join several unions through my various careers) that if I owned a business and my employees formed a union. I’d shut the business down the next day.

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  13. Macro Investor

    By mmmarvel @ 15:By Kary L. Krismer @ 10:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 7 Due to union rules you can’t do things that make sense, like unload an entire truck because some of the merchandise can only be unloaded by a member of a brother union.

    There was a story a while back about a Chicago convention. One of the exhibitors said he needed to bring in a suitcase, that he could easily carry himself. But according to union rules, the “container” had to have at least 2 movers and a supervisor, each billing at a minimum number of hours. He was held up for thousands of dollars for such nonsense.

    If you don’t play ball, they find ways to hurt your business. It doesn’t seem much different to me than mob protection money. In this game of union vs. corporations, there is no good guy.

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  14. David B.

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 2 – Indeed.

    Capital has really gotten the upper hand over labor since about 1980, and it’s going to take a significant amount of growing class consciousness and struggle to overturn what is now a decades-old status quo. Absent that process, of course the Machinists are going to choose “take it” over “leave it”; a smaller slice of the pie beats no pie at all.

    Sooner or later, a change in labor’s favor is bound to happen. American capitalism has evolved into more and more a virtual economy based on playing money games and less and less on making things people want to buy. More burst bubbles are inevitable, and each burst bubble will tend to create more misery than the last. Eventually a tipping point will be reached. We saw an inkling of that with the Occupy protests.

    But “sooner or later” is not now, hence the Machinist’s decision. Which is better for this region than the other present-day alternative of Boeing pulling up stakes and leaving.

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  15. Pegasus

    RE: The Tim @ 13 – I think you “nuked the fridge” here today when you proclaimed falsely that your previous post predicting the demise of Boeing in Everett was humor. I admit the choices were humorous but your statement at the start of the article that contained no disclaimer nor a “I am just kidding” statement said:

    “With the future of Boeing airplane manufacturing inevitably moving to less expensive states (sped along the way by last night’s Machinists Union vote), we may as well start work now on determining a new use for the 98-acre Boeing Everett Factory, currently the world’s largest building by volume.”

    You also listed the article under the news category, not just the humorous category. You obviously overreacted on your emotions thinking your much ballyhooed real estate purchase was soon to become ill-fated.

    Stop lying to your readers and admit when you made a mistake. It is the right thing to do and the only way you will improve the quality of your blog. Pretending your wrong statements were just an attempt at humor and receiving the rubber stamp of approval from a known prodigious idiot poster a few minutes later does nothing to establish credibility for yourself.

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  16. One Eyed Man

    RE: The Tim @ 19RE: Pegasus @ 18

    I think its time for another meet up. That way people can ignore the substantive issues face to face and piss on each others feet in an emotionally charged personal grudge match over who was right and who was wrong on some collateral subject while the rest of us watch in amazement.

    But wait, maybe I could make it bigger and better. This is just a two tube contest like Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. If only I could get somebody involved who really enjoys watering it all down with an ego wash of yellow insults. I know, what could I say to get Corn Dog in the mix so we could have a three way like Christians, Muslims and Jews that will go on agonizingly for centuries while the rest of us watch in horror as peoples who have contributed greatly over history destroy each other over what the rest of us see as petty historic differences of limited current substance.

    Nahhhh. That would take a prodigious idiot. It would be like destroying the world for my own amusement. And that’s all I have to say about that.

    Then again, maybe if I say Corn Dog three times like saying Beetlejuice.
    Corn Dog . . . Corn Dog . . .
    Nahhh, I can’t do it. Even I know I know that would be wrong.

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  17. Kary L. Krismer

    By mmmarvel @ 15:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 10:
    RE: One Eyed Man @ 7 – It’s also seemingly a very short sighted way for a state to go, because both in theory and practice it doesn’t lead to prosperity for the state. The most talented workers will move elsewhere, where they can be paid more, and the ones that stay won’t be earning enough money to fully support the secondary economic activity that employment typically offers a community..

    Maybe, maybe not – how much more will you be making if you don’t have to cough up union dues? People get tired watching others doing nothing (or next to nothing) but are ‘protected’ by union, making it extremely difficult to get rid of dead wood..

    Union dues are not typically that expensive, and some of that typically goes to a strike fund. Also, the claim that unions keep people from being fired is almost total nonsense. What they keep from happening is arbitrary firings. Companies can still set work rules. For example, when I worked at UPS we had to unload something like 1,500 boxes and hour, or sort 1,200 boxes an hour.

    RE: The Tim @ 13 – I think you “nuked the fridge” here today when you proclaimed falsely that your previous post predicting the demise of Boeing in Everett was humor. I admit the choices were humorous but your statement at the start of the article that contained no disclaimer nor a “I am just kidding” statement said:

    The problem you have is that you don’t understand many things, and this is just another example. I clearly understood at the time that the post was intended to be humorous/sarcastic, as shown by the second comment to the post, but you still don’t even after it’s explained to you. In other words, you got zoomed and you’re still zoomed.

    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2013/11/14/top-10-future-uses-for-the-98-acre-boeing-everett-factory/comment-page-1/#comment-207752

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  18. redmondjp

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 21

    Union dues are not that expensive?????

    Kary, what rock have you been hiding underneath?

    My wife is a teacher – her mandatory union dues (to the local, state, and national chapters combined) are close to 2% of her gross salary. My union dues (not mandatory; I’m represented but not a paying member) are around 1% of my gross salary. That’s about $2K per year (or two new HDTVs, or 1.5 major appliances, or two tickets to Hawaii) for the both of us.

    Hardly peanuts. In fact, it’s the major factor as to why I have decided to not join. I’d take a 1% salary cut to do so, and the union has yet failed to demonstrate to me that my salary is a cent higher than it would be if there were not there.

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  19. ChrisM

    RE: The Tim @ 11 – Who knew Fonzie was Jewish?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ce1UMhFV-k

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  20. Pegasus

    “Dewey Defeats Truman” says the Tim. Golly gee, it was just humor even if it was posted as news……For a guy that constantly creates posts patting yourself on the back for getting something right(after many, many things wrong) I expected a little more class from you when you were wrong. Sorry it was my mistake for underestimating the size of your massive ego. I should have realized this a long time ago when you placated the other massive ego here by removing the thumbs down capability and increasing the amount of idiot posts that he could make even though he supposedly was gone forever. Great job! Signs of someone desperate to save their blog at any cost.

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