Boeing Still by Far the Biggest Player in the Puget Sound Economy

Quick note on the potential impact of a long-term departure of Boeing from the Puget Sound.

The Seattle-area economy is definitely more diverse than it was in the ’70s, but Boeing still dominates the employment base by the numbers.

A 2003 table from the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce shows Boeing employing more people than the next six-largest Puget Sound companies combined (Port of Seattle, Alaska Air, Microsoft, UW, Safeway, and the VA).

Here’s a crude visual of the size of Puget Sound’s top 10 employers based on the Chamber’s 2003 data linked above:

Top 10 Puget Sound Employers (2003)

Here is some more recent data on Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon (which was listed by the Chamber of Commerce as the 9th-largest local employer as of 2003).

Total Puget Sound Jobs
Boeing: 73,357 (46% of total headcount)
Microsoft: 40,224 (44% of total headcount)
Amazon: 10,850 (assuming 50% of total headcount)

And keep in mind that the numbers listed above are only those directly employed by Boeing itself. Many thousands more local jobs are directly tied to Boeing in companies that supply Boeing with parts and services.

In short, there’s clearly a lot at stake for the local economy (and by extension the local housing market) when it comes to Boeing’s long-term plans.

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About 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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

111 comments:

  1. 1
    Scotsman says:

    Fine, let ’em go. We’ll replace those environmentally yucky blue collar jobs with high paying, high status bio-tech jobs, along with more coffee related jobs, and even some really, really cool green tech jobs. That’ll teach ’em! After all, you can’t be a true world class city by building what amounts to transportation machinery for the masses in this modern age. That’s for the emerging third world- we’re moving on to things that are more impressive to talk about at cocktail parties.

    Don’t let the tail flaps hit ya on the way out! ;-)

  2. 2
  3. 3
    anony says:

    This is just the first step. Sooner or later they will be assembling those planes in Mexico.

  4. 4
    AMS says:

    The Tim-

    I am not going to measure those circles, but it looks like you have it right. Too often the diameter is doubled, resulting in an area 4x as large, when a single dimension parameter is twice as large. While I would not suggest presenting single dimensional data in two dimensions, you have done it right.

    Also Boeing = about the next six largest.

    Finally it sounds like Boeing is moving/shifting/starting some of its operations to SC. It’s a done deal if what I heard on the radio is correct. (edit: I guess I should have read comment #2, above)

  5. 5
    The Tim says:

    RE: AMS @ 4 – Excel 2003 bubble style chart auto-generated it, so I should hope the sizes are correct :^)

  6. 6
    Acerun says:

    Market level cigarette sales are totally going to plummet!

  7. 7
    AMS says:

    RE: The Tim @ 5 – I cannot tell you how many are incorrect, regardless of how they are generated. I am not talking about your work specifically, but news reporters are often culprits of poor data presentation. I see a lot of “twice as large” presentations that are actually four times as large in area…

    Oh, and take a look at how Power Point, and probably Excel too generates discrete data charts with decimal points.

    # of homes
    1.0
    1.2
    1.4
    1.6
    1.8
    2.0

    Yet there are no fractional homes.

  8. 8
    Scotsman says:

    Man, Seattle is losing it’s heart and soul, and all you guys want to talk about is charting software.

    Panic, people, panic!!!

    Hey, it’s a great time to buy- prices are down, rates are down, realtors are hungry.

  9. 9
    AMS says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 8 – Charting software may be all that’s left of the Seattle area, unless that moves too.

  10. 10
    mydquin says:

    below

  11. 11
    mydquin says:

    Your post is misleading. Why did you not report University of Washington or Military employment numbers? They are huge employers. Such a huge whiff makes it look like you have some sort of an agenda.

  12. 12
    cheapseats says:

    UW is there on the chart and in the text…

  13. 13
    Jim says:

    Microsoft grew it’s total headcount by about 70% from 2003 to 2009 (source: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/inside_ms.mspx#RevenueHeadcount). This data claim that locally they quadrupled headcount. It’s hard to believe those 2003 numbers when they seem off by ~3x for the area’s second largest employer.

  14. 14
    The Tim says:

    RE: mydquin @ 11 – As mentioned above @ 12, UW is included in the Chamber’s data and the chart.

    RE: Jim @ 13 – I just posted the best numbers I could find, which was from the Chamber of Commerce table I linked to. If you think the numbers are bogus, you should probably take it up with them. My guess is that the chamber’s definition of “Puget Sound” is more narrow than what is reported on Microsoft’s site, since the oldest data I can find shows 28,900 MS employees in WA as of 2005.

    The point remains, based on the most current data I posted at the end of the post, that Boeing is still by far the largest private local employer.

  15. 15
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    DHL did really well after moving all operations to right to work states. ;-)

    Now in addition to poor management , they’ll have low quality workers. Perfect recipe for needing a government bailout.

  16. 16
    Madrona says:

    I’m not sure how relevant this argument is in the long term. After the Yukon gold rush what ever happened to all those employees which outfitted the men heading to Alaska? Those particular jobs disappeared but new ones came to replace. This reminds me of an early quote I heard once about telephones and how widespread they would become (I’m paraphrasing because I can’t find the precise wording): The telephone will never become widespread because everyone would need to become a switchboard operator to support the system.

    I understand that isn’t very eloquent how I put it but that was the first thought that came to my mind when I read this post (and all the other posts Tim has created basically saying this same thing). It is short-sighted to look at any market as static. Yes Boeing employs many people in the region but that doesn’t mean if they leave all jobs would be lost. In the long term jobs are created and jobs are eliminated. That is just a fact of an evolving society. Scotman may have said “We’ll replace those environmentally yucky blue collar jobs with high paying, high status bio-tech jobs, along with more coffee related jobs, and even some really, really cool green tech jobs.” as tongue-in-cheek but there is truth in that statement too. When one job is lost there is opportunity for another to be created.

  17. 17
    doug r says:

    Back when Boeing decided to move HQ to Chicago, we all knew this sort of thing was coming.

  18. 18
    shawn says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 1 – the proper term is “Don’t let the door hit ya where the dog should have bit ya.”

  19. 19
    jon says:

    The jobs probably won’t go away for quite some time, not unless the South Carolinians do exceptionally well, because once Boeing bites the bullet on a second location they will want to keep two locations to maintain the upper hand in labor and tax negotiations. What will happen is that Boeing unions won’t have nearly the bargaining power they used to have, and wages will be leveled between the two locations.

  20. 20
    LUC says:

    Jon,

    Give me an example of a company that would keep two plants open after moving to cut costs. That would never happen.

  21. 21
    Acerun says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 15 – Ask the big 3 if they wished they could have gotten away from the unions. Factory line workers in Seattle are no better than SC.

  22. 22
    Jo-Pete says:

    RE: jon @ 19 – Wages won’t necessarily be leveled between the two locations – they are very different economies. With different average salaries and different costs of living there’s no reason they _should_ be paid the same in both locations. I do hope that the union gets the hint and focuses on improving the workforce here in Seattle to compete rather than throwing useless, harmful strikes that does nothing but bites the hand that feeds them.

  23. 23
    greenthum says:

    Madrona, you may be right but the big question is how long will it take to replace those lost jobs? Five years? Ten years? Fifty years? Who knows. Unfortunately, the people who have lost their jobs recently don’t have the luxury of waiting around until new jobs are created. Most of them need work now and will relocate as soon as they land a job elsewhere.

    State and local government hasn’t even begun to address the problems caused by a shrinking population and declining tax revenue. Those who think the government will step in and provide jobs for the unemployed better think again.

    The economic hole that Boeing creates when it leaves the Northwest could be felt for a generation. I hope the people of Seattle have a lot of patients.

  24. 24
    jon says:

    RE: LUC @ 20 – LUC, they aren’t moving, they are expanding. The list of companies with multiple locations is endless. There are many foreign auto makers that built plants in the South and continue to manufacture in their home countries.

    Boeing has invested a huge amount of money already in a distributed manufacturing system. They are so big that if they ever tried to concentrate everything in another location, the same thing would happen, which is that the local cost of living would be driven up.

  25. 25
    LUC says:

    They also plenty of examples of companies shutting down plants after relocating manufacturing operations. Also, I would think Boeing would try to maximize their cost savings by shutting down plants that are more expensive to operate.

    RE: jon @ 23

  26. 26
    redmondjp says:

    This is not a surprise to anybody with half a brain, and it’s a smart business move for Boeing for many reasons. Sure, it will be a rough start at the new plant. But those problems will be resolved and things will move forward. They are looking long-term, just like the Japanese automakers did when they located in the south over the past 15-20 years.

    Now, what makes this move particularly smart for Boeing is that in the future, EVERY TIME they announce a new plane program, they will pit WA against SC (and possibly against new TBA potential plant locations in other states as well) in order to gain the maximum amount of concessions from each state. It’s ugly, rude, but capitalism at its finest.

    Any union members out there who think you can’t be replaced need look no further than Paccar who is one of the strongest union-busting companies out there. Strike at truck plant in Kansas City? No problem, plant closed, PERMANENTLY! Strike at Quebec truck plant, plant CLOSED, but reopened several years later after receiving millions of dollars worth of plant improvements courtesy of Canadian government. Seattle truck plant? Closed and sold. Renton truck plant? Essentially closed, only used for building a few off-highway trucks now, on-highway trucks will now be built in Ohio and Mexico. Freightliner is doing the same thing, closing their Portland assembly plant in 2010 when the union contract expires.

    Union workers, you CAN be replaced! This is the wonderful benefit of our new global economy, where we are in competition with workers around the world willing to work for WAY less than we will. Work first shifts to lower-cost states in the US, and then offshore. Even 20 years ago while I was still in college, the only two industries that the United States was still leading globally in were airplane and chemical manufacturing. Now we’re seeing both of those go offshore also. Hmmm . . . so why do union members still strongly support Democratic politicians who are fully complicit (as are the Republicans) in this globalist transformation? I still remember when union-elected Bill Clinton gave China most-favored-nation trading status, didn’t hear any complaints from the unions then . . . oops!

    And also 20 years ago when looking for a job right out of college, I paid almost $200 for a business directory of the PNW that had lots of data on most pubicly-held companies. As I recall, Boeing at that time employed around 120,000 employees in the greater Seattle area. So they have shrunk by 1/3 in the past 20 years.

  27. 27
    see it clearly says:

    madrona@16,
    What happened to the lost manufacturing jobs in the Detroit area?

  28. 28
    what goes up must come down says:

    RE: Acerun @ 21 – You are clueless, this isn’t a widget.

  29. 29
    what goes up must come down says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 25 – yeah they should support Republicans because we know they don’t support everything business wants.

  30. 30
    Kevin says:

    This numbers around circles don’t look right… Microsoft has about 40K employees around Puget Sound in 2008. It also employs around 10K contractors here.

    What do you guys think about future housing prices in Everette and Kent now Boeing seems destined to move away?

  31. 31
    Jonnny says:

    ‘When one job is lost there is opportunity for another to be created.’

    while likely to be the case in seattle, this may take a lot of time.

    when a job is lost, you are correct that there’s an opportunity for a new job because /there’s someone out of work/. that does not mean that the community can provide that work. ultimately the “opportunity” for that unemployed person may be out-of-state or even out-of-country.

    the west is dotted with towns that didn’t make it in various stages of evolution… where resources ran out or other towns won a competitive situation and job growth went negative until the town died. we call these ‘ghost towns’ and they are quite eerie if you’ve ever poked around one.

    both tacoma and bellingham are less than they were once ‘destined to be’. why? they lost the railroad race to seattle. that’s not something either town will ever make up. also, seattle is, in some sense, a ghost town to LA. many decades ago, seattle was the most important port on the west coast. and more important than SF or LA, to be sure. now? not so much.

    the historical record shows that cities can and do stop growing for periods of time and they can even shrink or disappear. at the rate detroit is going, we may have our country’s first ghost city before long. not to mention new orleans. we’re rapidly heading in the direction of the extreme wealth polarization of a country like brazil.

  32. 32
    doug r says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 25
    You’ve got a great argument there for good trade agreements with countries with enforced strong labor/human rights laws.
    We shouldn’t be trading with anybody that doesn’t let workers organize and bargain collectively.
    Republicans, unlike 65-70% of the population don’t even want you to have public health care.

  33. 33
    Acerun says:

    By what goes up must come down @ 28:

    RE: Acerun @ 21 – You are clueless, this isn’t a widget.

    It is just an assembly line. Many parts of the dreamliner are made in SC or other parts of the world other than Seattle. It is not rocket science…..

  34. 34
    jon says:

    By Kevin @ 30:

    What do you guys think about future housing prices in Everette and Kent now Boeing seems destined to move away?

    The remaining Boeing plants will be moved out only if the unions continue to fail to adjust to the new competitive environment that Boeing has created. We have certainly lost out on a potential boom, and there will also be strong downward pressure on machinist wages here and thus the overall flow of money into the region.

  35. 35
    deprogram says:

    By Acerun @ 33:

    By what goes up must come down @ 28:

    RE: Acerun @ 21 – You are clueless, this isn’t a widget.

    It is just an assembly line. Many parts of the dreamliner are made in SC or other parts of the world other than Seattle. It is not rocket science…..

    Now that’s just stupid. What kind of science is it, exactly?

  36. 36
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 8RE: Scotsman @ 1

    Would you like some bio-diesel fries with that sir?

    Just practicing for my new green job.;-)

    My apologies for the long comment. This is basically my vision for what probably happens to Boeing’s northwest operations over the next 20 years. It’s largely speculation, or at best an educated guess, so you won’t miss much if you skip it. I usually erase stuff like this without posting it, but I’m posting this one cause I’m emotionally attached and feel a little depressed like somebody just dumped me. They say talking about it is one of the important steps in the grieving process.

    doug r at 17 is right. We all knew this was coming even if like me, you didn’t want to accept it. The movement of the second 787 line was a natural outcome after the McDonnell Douglas merger and the move of the corporate headquarters to Chicago. Face it, after the merger, much of Boeing, other than commercial aircraft, was already located outside of Washington. This is just a continuation of the move of the commercial aircraft industry to the low production cost locations. Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas both had to throw in the towel on commercial aircraft production at least in part because Seattle engineers and assembly plants were less expensive than SoCal 25 years ago. I’m not sure if both Lockheed and MD were primarily in SoCal, but I think at least portions of both their commercial units were there.

    The emotional ties of Boeing to Seattle (to be distinguished from the emotional ties of Seattle to Boeing) died with the merger and the move of the corporate headquarters. The only remaining ties are just legacy plant and work force location. The site of future Boeing production is just a cost (and risk) decision. As old airframes are phased out, the new lines will go to lowest cost (and risk) locations which in many if not most cases probably won’t be Seattle. It’s just business now.

    But moving the assembly locations is probably less than half the real threat to Seattle’s future with Boeing. Outsourcing to subcontractors has already diminished the number of jobs in Seattle, probably by much more than moving the 2nd 787 line. I don’t have a statistical source for that, but I think it’s true. Despite the problems with outsourcing, it’s my belief that management sees it as the best way to reduce the capital needed for development of a new aircraft. I’ve been told that Boeing was going to use the same outsourcing plan if they got the contract for the joint strike fighter. The capital needs for development of the 747 nearly bankrupted Boeing. Now I think they make the subcontractors provide the capital to bear some of the development costs.

    One risk of outsourcing is the loss of control over your production. That was at least part of the source for all the 787 delays. But there is potentially a bigger long term risk to the outsourcing. If Boeing isn’t really careful with it’s intellectual property and talent pools for engineering and manufacturing, an asian competitor will tap into that pool and assemble planes like an open architecture PC and crush Boeing like the clone market crushed IBM’s PC business. Over the next 15 or 20 years, I think thats potentially a bigger threat to the assembly of airplanes in Seattle than the right to work states.

    Even if we can compete with South Carolina as a low cost producer, can we compete with China after they’ve tapped into the outsourced intellectual property and talent pool? And if our debt to China gets devalued enough, I think China will feel justified in taking a few liberties with what we claim to be our intellectual property. In the end, the outcome may be that Boeing assembles most of its planes in China rather than sitting back and watching a competitor in China eat their lunch. After all, in coming years asia is expected to far exceed the western markets for commercial aircraft.

    The jobs are important and we all have friends who wilI either have to move or lose their jobs with continued migration of Boeing from the northwest. In the short run, Boeing will probably try to transfer a large number of people from the 787 line to So Carolina to help get that line running smoothly. And they will bring in new people to replace them on the line here. That could generate perhaps a thousand real estate deals in King and Snohomish Counties over a couple year period with about equal amounts of selling and buying.

    In the long run there is no way to know the pace of Boeing’s migration out or the pace of new employers coming in. It’s possible that the decreased Boeing presence might mean that I can afford a nice waterfront retirement place somewhere on Puget Sound. But I hate to see’em leave and I still have emotional ties to Boeing even if Boeing has no love left for Seattle. It’s a little like having your professional ball team move to another town. I’d say it was like having your girlfriend leave you, but my wife would kill me.

  37. 37
    AMS says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 36 – I also maintain that there is no way that Seattle can compete with all the workers in Michigan. Washington probably would not be as willing to work with Boeing as the communities in Michigan. There are plenty of skilled transportation workers in Michigan, from the auto industry. I have no doubt that Boeing would get whatever they need. In any event, I don’t see how this disparity can go on without some consequences.

  38. 38

    RE: doug r @ 17 – Yet another stupid decision. You build airplanes, but you tell all your customers you need to be in a certain part of the country to better manage your business. Not to mention the fact that the new plane developed since that move hasn’t really gone together as planned. I would guess they lost a bunch of key people with that move because not that many people would want to move from here to Chicago.

  39. 39
    Acerun says:

    By deprogram @ 35:

    By Acerun @ 33:

    By what goes up must come down @ 28:

    RE: Acerun @ 21 – You are clueless, this isn’t a widget.

    It is just an assembly line. Many parts of the dreamliner are made in SC or other parts of the world other than Seattle. It is not rocket science…..

    Now that’s just stupid. What kind of science is it, exactly?

    Assembly Science! Business Science! Reality Science!

  40. 40

    RE: AMS @ 37

    Green Jobs

    LOL

    How many people would it take to make simple solar panels or wind mills?

    About 1/1000th [based on the number of parts to make] of cars or planes.

    Green jobs are also notoriously $10-15/hr stock too, like South Carolina non-union jobs. Welcome to Depression II.

  41. 41

    By Acerun @ 21:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 15 – Ask the big 3 if they wished they could have gotten away from the unions. Factory line workers in Seattle are no better than SC.

    Well first, the workers in SC are so bad Boeing had to buy the plant to try to salvage the situation.

    Second, find one good car (reliability) built in the south. Most are at the bottom of CR’s reliability ratings. The difference between cars and airplanes is people usually die when airplanes don’t function properly. I wouldn’t want to be insuring Boeing after the first 787 from SC takes off. Of course, that assumes any 787s ever take off.

    Boeing is really lucky that this delay is happening at this point in time. Many of their customers probably either don’t want or can’t take delivery, so they don’t care much about the delay, or actually like it. But moving forward to the next plane, this is going to haunt them.

  42. 42

    You people are assuming that Detroit’s problems are union related, and not a management problem. Good management can deal with union issues–take UPS for example. They not only compete against USPS and FedEx with high labor costs, but they also wiped DHL (largely non-union) off the map.

    Also, you’re assuming that a plant with lower wages will have lower overall costs. Wages are only one component of costs.

  43. 43
    jon says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 42:

    Good management can deal with union issues

    That’s what Boeing management just did.

  44. 44
    Alan says:

    RE: deprogram @ 35

    That’s just it…..it’s not science at all. It’s assembly! Documented, procedural assembly. You don’t need an engineering degree to assemble something. I would refer you to both post 37 and the assembly people looking for work in Michigan and the recent GE job posting….. GE 10000 applications for 90 assembly jobs

    Good luck with that career path

  45. 45

    By jon @ 43:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 42:

    Good management can deal with union issues

    That’s what Boeing management just did.

    No, that’s what they attempted to do. We’ll know in about 5 years whether it was effective, or another nail in the coffin.

  46. 46
    deejayoh says:

    What u have read is that 787 production lines create very few jobs (assuming they can even produce a plane). The estimate is that this is going to create 3,000 jobs in SC. The state gave $170mm in tax conscessions to attract these jobs. $56k each. is that bargain?

  47. 47
    jon says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 45:

    By jon @ 43:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 42:

    Good management can deal with union issues

    That’s what Boeing management just did.

    No, that’s what they attempted to do. We’ll know in about 5 years whether it was effective, or another nail in the coffin.

    I expect the tone of the negotiations for the next IAM contract to be very different than before. Any one who has ever seen the behavior of their kids change after some discipline knows what I am talking about.

  48. 48
    deprogram says:

    By Acerun @ 39:

    By deprogram @ 35:

    By Acerun @ 33:

    By what goes up must come down @ 28:

    RE: Acerun @ 21 – You are clueless, this isn’t a widget.

    It is just an assembly line. Many parts of the dreamliner are made in SC or other parts of the world other than Seattle. It is not rocket science…..

    Now that’s just stupid. What kind of science is it, exactly?

    Assembly Science! Business Science! Reality Science!

    Wow. You are just making stuff up.

    From the definition:

    [url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerospace_engineering”]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerospace_engineering[/url]

    Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering behind the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is broken into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. The former deals with craft that stay within Earth’s atmosphere, and the latter deals with craft that operate outside of Earth’s atmosphere.

    Tell me again: what kind of science is it? Yes, that’s right – it’s ROCKET science.

  49. 49
    deprogram says:

    By Acerun @ 39:

    By deprogram @ 35:

    By Acerun @ 33:

    By what goes up must come down @ 28:

    RE: Acerun @ 21 – You are clueless, this isn’t a widget.

    It is just an assembly line. Many parts of the dreamliner are made in SC or other parts of the world other than Seattle. It is not rocket science…..

    Now that’s just stupid. What kind of science is it, exactly?

    Assembly Science! Business Science! Reality Science!

    Wow. You are just making stuff up.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerospace_engineering

    Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering behind the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is broken into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. The former deals with craft that stay within Earth’s atmosphere, and the latter deals with craft that operate outside of Earth’s atmosphere.

    Yeah, dude. It’s not rocket science. Whatever that is.

  50. 50
    deprogram says:

    By Alan @ 44:

    RE: deprogram @ 35

    That’s just it…..it’s not science at all. It’s assembly! Documented, procedural assembly. You don’t need an engineering degree to assemble something. I would refer you to both post 37 and the assembly people looking for work in Michigan and the recent GE job posting….. GE 10000 applications for 90 assembly jobs

    Good luck with that career path

    By that logic all assembly should be done by the least skilled workers possible. Preferably illiterate ones that are trained by pictograms. Oh, that’s right – that’s what Boeing must have decided as well.

  51. 51
    jon says:

    By deejayoh @ 46:

    What u have read is that 787 production lines create very few jobs (assuming they can even produce a plane). The estimate is that this is going to create 3,000 jobs in SC. The state gave $170mm in tax conscessions to attract these jobs. $56k each. is that bargain?

    What they bought is a permanent end to the claim that it would be foolish for Boeing to build future lines anywhere else but Washington. Every line from now on can go in either WA or SC. Which one will have the advantage going forward?

  52. 52
    Pegasus says:

    Wa. state voters keep putting incompetent clowns in place. Hopefully they figure it out before the entire state is bankrupt. Vote out incompetent useless clowns like Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Governor Gregoire and a whole lot more. Sonics, Boeing…who’s next?

  53. 53

    By jon @ 47:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 45:

    By jon @ 43:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 42:

    Good management can deal with union issues

    That’s what Boeing management just did.

    No, that’s what they attempted to do. We’ll know in about 5 years whether it was effective, or another nail in the coffin.

    I expect the tone of the negotiations for the next IAM contract to be very different than before. Any one who has ever seen the behavior of their kids change after some discipline knows what I am talking about.

    That assumes they can assemble planes in SC, which is yet to be proven. What we know is they can’t manufacture plane parts down there.

    But you’re right, negotiations might be different. Boeing will legitimately be able to claim that they are on the ropes because they wasted millions of dollars on a plant that doesn’t work, and buying a supplier that can’t supply parts. Or rather than negotiating with Boeing, the union will be negotiating with its new owner, the federal government. ;-)

  54. 54
    jon says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52 – What exactly is the reason that you think the people who live in SC are unable to be trained to assemble a plane?

    The big mistake that GM and others made in dealing with their unions was thinking they could keeping kicking the can down the road and promise ever more expensive benefits. Well the workers lucked out in that case because the taxpayers will pick up that tab for that mess. I admire Boeing management for taking the bull by the horns and foregoing the lure of a short 10 year strike free period, only to find themselves in an even worse place at the end of that cease fire.

  55. 55
    Acerun says:

    By jon @ 53:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52 – What exactly is the reason that you think the people who live in SC are unable to be trained to assemble a plane?

    It continues the misguided belief that this area is “special”.
    Corporate doesn’t feel so warm and fuzzy about Seattle. They are in Chicago and they only care about the bottom line. What did that famous billboard say about turning off the lights. This time it might be for good!

  56. 56
    Alan says:

    RE: deprogram @ 49 – Unlike you my logic does not simply devolve into a world of only black and white. Since you didn’t seem to get my point let me spell it out.

    There are tons of skilled mechanical assembly workers out of a job in the US and it’s only getting worse for them as more and more manufacturing jobs get sent overseas.

    As a person who has recently moved to the Seattle area from Austin TX I can tell you it is MUCH more expensive to live here. The group of people I was working with in Austin were some of the smartest people I have ever met. I’m very sure that there are qualified and capable people in SC that can put together a plane. Whether or not it works out for Boeing in the long run to be a more cost effective place is yet to be determined.

    I’m anti union. It had it’s place in history when companies were truly killing their employees for profit, but it has gone to far in the other direction. There is no reason that people with an easily obtainable and simple skillset (here I reference the 1940’s Boeing employee handbook extolling how the jobs are so easy even a housewife can do them) should be earning as much as people who have put in the time to earn a 4 year degree.

    With manufacturing gutted in the US and companies dying under their union negotiated obligations the future for manufacturing is a downward path in payscale more severe than the downward path everyone else will also see as unemployment (U6 number) BLS data is now at 17%.

    So in conclusion, lower cost capable employees are available in SC and the union must mostly blame itself for losing out in the bid for future work here.

  57. 57

    RE: jon @ 53

    Great Discussion Guys

    WOW, I don’t know where to start…..

    Firstly, pensions aren’t a drag to our economy IMO, they’re necessary….wait until you get older like Kary and I, you’ll whistle a different tune then….LOL

    If we simply eliminated all Social Security and pensions to go “whole hog New World Order”, the American economy would TOTALLY die overnight, not to mention you younger workers could kiss open job slots good-bye too. Older Americans with retirement incomes go on vacations, fly planes, buy laptops, etc, etc….in other words, live the life of Riley before they die….you cut that cash cow out of America and a lot of you can likely kiss your wages and jobs good-bye too. Also, better clean out an extra bedroom for ma and pa when they get sick….

    Who can afford U of W tuition costs for their kids? A $15/hr NWO non-union worker with no pensions or an unionized Boeing Aerospace worker in Seattle?

    You better add up the costs to Seattle’s economy before you open your mouths.

    There are no special tickets to the Titanic life boats, when Social Security and pensions die, the ship with all of us on it is heading for the ice berg.

  58. 58

    By jon @ 53:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52 – What exactly is the reason that you think the people who live in SC are unable to be trained to assemble a plane?

    The big mistake that GM and others made in dealing with their unions was thinking they could keeping kicking the can down the road and promise ever more expensive benefits..

    As to the question, their inability to manufacture parts for the 787. An inability so great Boeing was forced to buy the plant to salvage the situation (and something I’ve yet to see a report they’ve done). Also the reference to cars built in SC.

    As to the second part, companies can cope with expense. What they can’t cope with is bad design, designing the wrong product, and bad management. Oh, but enough about Boeing. :-D

  59. 59

    By Acerun @ 54:

    By jon @ 53:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52 – What exactly is the reason that you think the people who live in SC are unable to be trained to assemble a plane?

    It continues the misguided belief that this area is “special”.
    Corporate doesn’t feel so warm and fuzzy about Seattle. They are in Chicago and they only care about the bottom line. What did that famous billboard say about turning off the lights. This time it might be for good!

    Wrong. I think that the Seattle area has a better educated workforce. And as noted, the move to Chicago was hardly good. How have things been going for Boeing since that move? Name one good thing that has happened. Tanker contract? No. 787 flying? No. Good suppliers of parts for 787? No.

  60. 60
    Alan says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 57 – So how’s that coping with expense working out for GM? Oh right, they’re getting their third handout….compliments of John Q. Taxpayer.

  61. 61

    RE: softwarengineer @ 56 – Some people think lower wages is a good thing. Lower wages are what exist in third world countries. Lower wages cause society to be less productive, not more productive.

  62. 62

    By Alan @ 59:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 57 – So how’s that coping with expense working out for GM? Oh right, they’re getting their third handout….compliments of John Q. Taxpayer.

    I’m not sure if you’re just trying to be dense, but I’ve already explained that companies can deal with expense, but not bad management. See post 42 for examples.

  63. 63
    deejayoh says:

    By Alan @ 59:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 57 – So how’s that coping with expense working out for GM? Oh right, they’re getting their third handout….compliments of John Q. Taxpayer.

    GMAC /= GM. Controlling ownership was spun out to Cerebrus – which is probably part of the problem. LBO

  64. 64
    Alan says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 62 – Sorry, I was counting the bailouts they received BEFORE they declared bankruptcy along with the $50 billion they got then.

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 61 – Somehow I think the two are more closely related than you may be giving them credit for. Isn’t that one of the main points of management, control expenses and look for opportunities to grow the company?

  65. 65
    jon says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 56 – Those laptops, plane rides and vacations you talk about are being paid for by borrowing against the future earnings of younger workers. I think they would prefer you keep on working and pay your own way.

  66. 66

    RE: jon @ 64

    You Do Make One Good Point Jon

    The government agencies and companies everywhere in the world today haven’t been hiring younger ones to mentor by the older ones, to save costs….keeping the older ones with experience working is likely a necessity, even at Boeing.

    The problem with you younger ones though, kiss those extra job opennings good-bye, especially the good pay ones. Eventually the older work force will die and open some slots for you [assuming the company doesn’t just pull its belt in tighter], but we go to Golds now and watch our calories [we’re not at all like our parents]….you may have to wait too long….LOL

  67. 67

    By Alan @ 63:

    RE: RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 61 – Somehow I think the two are more closely related than you may be giving them credit for. Isn’t that one of the main points of management, control expenses and look for opportunities to grow the company?

    Well clearly negotiating is part of it. But let’s say you don’t do too well in that area for one reason or another. Then you have to adjust to make the employees more productive.

  68. 68
    Ross Jordan says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 60 – Doing the same job, for lower wages increases productivity. So the statement on its own is not true.

  69. 69
    Dave0 says:

    By Jonnny @ 31:

    both tacoma and bellingham are less than they were once ‘destined to be’. why? they lost the railroad race to seattle. that’s not something either town will ever make up. also, seattle is, in some sense, a ghost town to LA. many decades ago, seattle was the most important port on the west coast. and more important than SF or LA, to be sure. now? not so much.

    I think you mean Seattle lost the railroad race to Tacoma. If you haven’t noticed, there is no East/West rail line in Seattle. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacoma#19th_century

  70. 70
    Jonnny says:

    Dave0: Although it’s abandoned now, the key to keeping seattle on track was that there WAS one at the critical time. Seattle is also further north in puget sound. The combination of the new railroad and the location is what caused Seattle to beat Tacoma.

  71. 71

    By Ross Jordan @ 68:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 60 – Doing the same job, for lower wages increases productivity. So the statement on its own is not true.

    There’s no incentive for anyone to do more for less. People do more for more, and employers make certain they do more for more.

    Just as an example, back when I worked for UPS in 1978-80 the sorters earned over $12.00 an hour, but were expected to sort over 1200 boxes per hour. Time sitting around was limited to break down situations. They typically only worked people 3-5 hours because more than that and it was difficult to maintain the rate.

    But that rate also kept the lower end workers working harder, because they wanted to become sorters. And UPS pretty much only hired college students because they wanted turnover, because they wanted competition for sorter positions.

    They dealt with the rather high pay for the time that way.

  72. 72
    mydquin says:

    Tim, I don’t know where you got that data about the UW, but it is grossly wrong. The UW employs over 30,000 people.

    http://www.washington.edu/admin/factbook/tablf2_2008.pdf

  73. 73
    The Tim says:

    RE: mydquin @ 72 – As I stated in the post itself, and again in my response to you above @ 14, the data came from the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and was dated 2003. If it is incorrect, I apologize. It was the best data I was able to find that listed numerous local employers at a single source.

    As I said @ 14, it doesn’t change the fact that Boeing is still easily the largest local private employer, which was the entire point of the post.

  74. 74
    Gerald says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 46 – Amortized over how long?

  75. 75
    Alan says:

    By Gerald @ 74:

    RE: deejayoh @ 46 – Amortized over how long?

    Wouldn’t take very long at all. The tax pyramid for new workers is astounding. You get to directly tax their pay with state income tax, you get property taxes from them, there are either new businesses started to support them or better earnings for existing businesses, you get sales tax income when they spend the rest of their income, which gets taxed as earnings at the locations where they spend their money, which gets taxed again when they spend it…….the cycle rapidly sucks a large portion of the money they earn into the state/local coffers. Plus you have the property taxes for the plant after concessions run out that you would have never received if they hadn’t been there.

    Depends on how much they spend locally vs at a distance and I have no idea what those numbers are but I’m betting the state has a pretty good idea of whether or not this was a good deal. Without jobs an economy dies, CA is in dire straits with an unemployment (again U6) near 25%.

  76. 76
    SLU Dweler says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 41

    The Toyota Camry for the US market has been built in Kentucky since 1988.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Motor_Manufacturing_Kentucky

  77. 77

    RE: SLU Dweler @ 76 – KY is not SC. I know there are some good cars built in the south.

  78. 78
    The Tim says:

    I have to say Kary, your apparent assumption that people in SC are too stupid to build aircraft appears to be pretty snobbish to me. Kentucky can make good cars, but in South Carolina they’re too dumb?

    Maybe I’m misinterpreting your sentiments. If so, I apologize.

  79. 79
    LeftOverpricedSeattle says:

    Kary,

    So, do you think SC has the ability to manufacture anything worthwhile or is it just that you don’t think they are capable of building an insurable commercial plane that can take off and land safely?

    I suppose those Michelin Aircraft Tires, that are manufactured in SC for both Airbus AND Boeing, keeps you from getting on any commercial craft these days then, huh?

  80. 80

    RE: The Tim @ 78
    Honda and Hyundai have manufacturing plants in Alabama, Nissan has a plant in Mississippi.
    But South Carolina? Nah. They’re just good for cooking possum and drinking swamp water.

  81. 81

    By The Tim @ 78:

    I have to say Kary, your apparent assumption that people in SC are too stupid to build aircraft appears to be pretty snobbish to me. Kentucky can make good cars, but in South Carolina they’re too dumb?

    Maybe I’m misinterpreting your sentiments. If so, I apologize.

    http://www.neweconomyindex.org/states/2002/01_knowledge_05.html

    Education level of manufacturing workforce:

    Washington #6
    SC #45
    KY #10

    Then there’s the story about Toyota building a new plant in Canada because they were tired of dealing with illiterate workers in the south. The source of that story backed off later, but it wasn’t clear it wasn’t due to political pressure from those he represented (auto parts makers).

    But beyond that, Boeing management isn’t that great to put it mildly. In order to try to salvage a bad situation they’re forced to buy a plant that can’t properly produce parts. Then probably before they’ve really worked through that they’re expanding in the same area? If the problem wasn’t management at the SC plant, they’re just going to have more problems, but have several millions of dollars invested in a plant that might never work right.

  82. 82

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 80:

    RE: The Tim @ 78
    Honda and Hyundai have manufacturing plants in Alabama, Nissan has a plant in Mississippi.
    But South Carolina? Nah. They’re just good for cooking possum and drinking swamp water.

    I think BMW and/or Mercedes might have plants in SC, but they can’t even produce good product in Germany.

  83. 83

    RE: LeftOverpricedSeattle @ 79 – I doubt I’ll ride on a 787 for at least 10 years. The development of that plane has had too much trouble no matter who puts it together, and no matter who puts it together, it will still be the product of today’s Boeing management.

  84. 84

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 82
    ….and an automobile is not the same as an aircraft. A Buick will not fall out of the sky, but a Boeing might.
    During WWII, the Germans refused to fly in the Italian built Breda aircraft, because too many of them were falling out of the sky without being shot down.

  85. 85
    The Tim says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 81:

    Education level of manufacturing workforce:

    Washington #6
    SC #45
    KY #10

    You seem to be implying that high education level == high intelligence and that high intelligence (or just a high education level) is required to perform blue collar manufacturing jobs. I reject both of those hypotheses.

  86. 86

    I would never equate education and intelligence, other than to note to reach higher education levels you need to have some minimal intelligence, but nothing fantastic. And I don’t think there’s any reason why the people of SC would be less intelligent, but there can be many reasons they are less educated.

    For one thing, once obtaining a certain level of education, they probably move out! ;-)

  87. 87
    AMS says:

    RE: The Tim @ 85
    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 81

    Michigan is #7, and there is an abundance of those workers ready and able to start tomorrow. I guess some of those worker will probably move to SC in the near future.

  88. 88
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 84

    Who says Buicks can’f fall out of the sky. I’m not sure if this guy is from SC, but he sounds like he he’s got a southern accent to me. Ironically it looks like the editor of the site is from Seattle. Where ever they’re from, I don’t want to fly in anything they biuld. (The first part of the video is just a commercial so click it a second time for the flight.)

    http://blog.cardomain.com/tag/buick/

  89. 89
    Gerald says:

    RE: AMS @ 87 – Exactly. Even if every working age person in SC was retarded, why wouldn’t you assume smartnuf peeps will go to SC for good jobs? We’re only talking about a few thousand jobs here.

  90. 90

    Detroit probably would have made more sense. No earthquakes, no hurricanes, a lot of potential employees and presumably plant space, and it’s closer to Chicago. I’m just not sure how their winters would affect things.

  91. 91
    LeftOverpricedSeattle says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 83:

    RE: LeftOverpricedSeattle @ 79 – I doubt I’ll ride on a 787 for at least 10 years. The development of that plane has had too much trouble no matter who puts it together, and no matter who puts it together, it will still be the product of today’s Boeing management.

    Nice job of completely dodging the question(s)…

    I never mentioned the 787. I specifically asked you if you had a problem with ALL SC manufacturing or just SC commercial aircraft assembly and manufacturing.

    Again, are you willing to fly on a Boeing or Airbus commercial airplane, knowing full well that the tires may be manufactured by residents of SC or do avoid all commercial airplane travel because someone in SC was involved in building the tires that you will be landing on and taking off with?

  92. 92

    RE: LeftOverpricedSeattle @ 91 – No, that wouldn’t bother me any more than flying in general–which is something I don’t like at all. Thanks for giving me one more thing to worry about! ;-)

    One thing to realize is I’ve been critical of Boeing management for years.

    Almost killing off an entire industry (horse racing) to get space for offices. (Although that was also stupidity on the part of the Alhaodeffs (sp?) in that they never put the property up for competing offers that almost certainly would have generated more money.)

    Moving to Chicago at the whim of one person, and thereby subjecting your key employees to a state income tax (and miserable winters), all for zero apparent benefit for the company.

    Deciding to build the 787 instead of a really innovative plane (I forget what they called it–the flying wing version).

    Spreading the technology to build the 787 around the world, creating future potential competition, and not having a second source for any major component so that it was virtually certain to be delayed initially upon development, and periodically thereafter as long as the plane is constructed.

    The only thing that could possible top all that off would be deciding to build a second 787 plant in the same location as the one supplier that was so bad you were forced to buy them to try to salvage a bad situation. I actually think spreading the assembly to a second location is a good thing (assuming the 787 actually flies someday). But if there was one place on earth that you wouldn’t build a second 787 plant, SC would be it. It’s a huge gamble with no significant return over other alternatives.

  93. 93
    LeftOverpricedSeattle says:

    Kary,

    I am not discounting that your points concerning Boeing’s mismanagement are well founded and I don’t disagree with your assertion that building it in the same location as the current failed plant might be a major mistake. I just don’t see how a failed assembly line in Charleston warrants painting the entire state (and much of the South) with quite so broad a brush.

    Are the BMW’s built in SC as good as the German ones from the 80’s? Not even close, but I don’t attribute that to Palmetto bugs in the factory. ;)

    Thanks for responding… and I agree with you. I dislike flying as well. Going to be heading to Hong Kong in probably 6 or 8 weeks and 14 hours in the air is just no fun, no matter WHO assembled the darn thing (although I have to say, of all commercial airliners out there, I still prefer the 747, I just wish the upstairs lounge was still an option).

  94. 94
    VermillionSky says:

    Kary,

    First, you say that the big 3 automakers’ problems were caused by bad management, not their (unionized) employees. Isn’t it possible that the failed suppliers in South Carolina also failed because of bad management, not because of their (non-unionized) employees?

    Second, have you ever been to Charleston, SC? I went there once to visit my brother while he was in the Navy nuke school. All operators of nuclear powered ships (the enlisted sailors and officers in the navy, as well as civilian employees of the companies who engineer the propulsion systems) are sent to that school for training. If you think a plane falling out of the sky is a problem, imagine what could happen if the nuclear propulsion system on a carrier or submarine fails. Sure, a lot of people running that school are military, but many of them are civilian employees of the companies that manufacture those systems (Bettis, KAPL, and BPMI). Those are highly trained, very intelligent folks.

    I guess my point is, there are smart, good workers in Charleston, SC. Maybe not everyone there is qualified to assemble Boeing aircraft, but a good management team should be able to find enough to build a successful assembly line.

  95. 95
    VermillionSky says:

    Concerning the discussion about whether or not this is rocket science: Not every employee at an aircraft manufacturer is a rocket scientist. Some are, but others are engineers, others are secretaries, others are janitors, others are accountants, others are assemblers, etc. Each task requires a different skill set. As far as I’m aware, we’re talking about an assembly line, right? Why wouldn’t the south be a good location for assembly? We’re not talking about research & development. I’m not suggesting R&D won’t be moved out of Seattle eventually, but I suspect if they are moved they will be moved to another city with a large engineering employee base (aerospace, mechanical, electrical, etc.). Aren’t their electronic control systems primarily engineered in California already?

  96. 96

    By LeftOverpricedSeattle @ 93:

    Kary,

    I am not discounting that your points concerning Boeing’s mismanagement are well founded and I don’t disagree with your assertion that building it in the same location as the current failed plant might be a major mistake. I just don’t see how a failed assembly line in Charleston warrants painting the entire state (and much of the South) with quite so broad a brush.

    I’m not painting the entire south with the same brush (note I said before that KY was not SC), but I am painting all of SC with the same brush. I just don’t see what it has going for it. If anything Boeing should consider moving the existing plant somewhere else, not moving new stuff there. But in any case if I were Boeing I wouldn’t do a thing until I had determined that the problems there were upper management, middle management or the employees, and that the problems were able to be fixed.

  97. 97

    By VermillionSky @ 94:

    Kary,

    First, you say that the big 3 automakers’ problems were caused by bad management, not their (unionized) employees. Isn’t it possible that the failed suppliers in South Carolina also failed because of bad management, not because of their (non-unionized) employees?.

    Yes, my prior post for the first time broke out management into two categories, but elsewhere I’ve said that it is either management or employees. But I’ve also said that at this point in time, they don’t know which it is. If they’d been running that plant for a year and gotten it straightened out, that would be one thing. But they’ve only owned it a short time.

  98. 98
    Jonness says:

    Puget Sound workers pushed on Boeing’s strings with all their might, and now Boeing has pushed back. I expect the machinist union just learned a valuable lesson about the state of the U.S. manufacturing sector and how little power unions currently have.

    I hear a lot of hype about inferior quality workers in right to work states; yet, Hyundai, Toyota et al are direct proof of the contrary. I had a GM car that ceazed at 89K miles. It was regularly serviced, and I expected it to last a whole lot longer. A friend of mine bought a GM pickup that has been in the shop 27 times by the time it was 4-years old (gauges not working, transmission failure, 4-WD failure the first time it was ever used, etc). My current car was built in a right to work state, and is without a doubt, the best car I have ever owned. So enough with this union-pride BS. You can either compete with other human beings who are willing to work cheaper or you can’t.

    I used to plant trees. I was once on a crew with 14 Mexicans, many who didn’t even speak English. They were the hardest-working bunch of guys I ever worked with. That job was not easy. I set a lot of athletic records in the various schools I attended while growing up. Yet, it took everything in me just to keep up with that crew. The reason I was the only white guy on the crew is because other white guys could not handle working that hard. It was piecework, so we made more than all the other crews in the area, but we really had to work to do it.

    The claim that people in another state or country are somehow inferior or won’t work as had is false. People without opportunity will work harder when they get opportunity because they appreciate it more. It’s true that the new Boeing workers will require a transition period while they are being organized and trained, but once things are up and running, the plant could actually turn out to be more productive than a comparable union-run plant in WA. IOW, Boeing is not thinking short-term, so people need to adjust their arguments.

    Boeing workers in WA seriously need to ask themselves why their jobs won’t go the way of Detroit and Flint, MI? The auto-industry is proof of the superiority of right-to-work state manufacturing philosophy. This is not a criticism; it’s a wake-up call. Union leaders need to stop practicing what worked in the past and start learning how to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. The bottom line is can your workers deliver more value per dollar than the workers you are competing against. After-all, a company is not in business to babysit; it’s in business to maximize its profits. Can you accommodate Boeing’s needs where that is concerned? If not, you are doomed in this industry.

  99. 99
    scotsman says:

    Here’s a new idea: let’s assume Kary is right, and the workers in SC can’t even put their shoes on correctly. I wonder if there are any super-smart, over-qualified but unemployed workers in other parts of the country, say Seattle, that would be willing or interested in moving to SC for a great job assembling airplanes? I hear they offer good wages, steady work, very low living expenses, (especially compared to Seattle), and the weather is even better!

    I’ll bet there are, lots of them in fact. SC just has to provide the factory- the qualified workers will somehow manage to show up.

  100. 100
    scotsman says:

    Ah, post #100, couldn’t resist!

  101. 101

    RE: scotsman @ 99

    The way I figure it, Being will send a bunch of Seattle workers to South Carolina to train the new hires. They will then return to Seattle and get laid off. Then, in a few years, Boeing will demand greater concessions from the State of South Carolina, and not having those met, will open a factory in Sichuan.

  102. 102
    David Losh says:

    OK, I haven’t said anything, but from what i understand, aside from the unions it’s also a matter of transportation. I’ve never explored the claim that Seattle has bad rail service, but that’s what I have heard. If you look at Atlanta Georgia, as an example, there are massive rail lines and yards.

  103. 103
    scotsman says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 101

    There may be a pretty good chance of a plane factory in Sichuan, but will it be Boeing’s?

    David- I seem to remember Boeing complaining about the traffic on I-5, etc. also. It made it more expensive to move parts from Seattle to Everett, etc.

  104. 104

    By scotsman @ 99:

    Here’s a new idea: let’s assume Kary is right, and the workers in SC can’t even put their shoes on correctly. I wonder if there are any super-smart, over-qualified but unemployed workers in other parts of the country, say Seattle, that would be willing or interested in moving to SC for a great job assembling airplanes? I hear they offer good wages, steady work, very low living expenses, (especially compared to Seattle), and the weather is even better!

    I take it you’ve never been to SC if you think the weather is better.

    In the Times today there’s a story where Boeing is currently saying the SC line will eventually produce 3 planes a month, and that the Everett line (which will have a make-shift second line added to it) will produce 7 planes a month. And that the larger version of the 787 will be exclusively built in Everett.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/boeingaerospace/2010177951_boeingsurge01.html

    That’s pretty amazing that a brand new line, in a building specifically designed to build 787s, isn’t even expected to be able to produce 50% of an existing line up here.

  105. 105

    Well, at least they know how to have a good time in SC:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-3035-Everyday-People-Examiner~y2009m10d29-SC-state-attorney-who-keeps-sex-toys-in-SUV-just-in-case-is-fired

    I’d describe the story, but the link gives it away.

  106. 106

    RE: scotsman @ 103 – I think the roads are more of an issue than rail lines.

    Yes, they have complained about the roads. And for good reason: Tim Eyman.

    Even back in the 70s UPS would move a lot of stuff here by rail. I think as close as Portland came by rail. If it was that bad, they wouldn’t have done that. Of course it could have gotten worse since then, but I sort of doubt it. Given all the container traffic in and out of Seattle, the lines have probably gotten better, not worse.

  107. 107
    David Losh says:

    I heard about the rail lines from a container shipping company. There is something about going East that is the problem, not enough rail lines going East from the West Coast and that’s why California is such a big player with Asia.

  108. 108
    AMS says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 104 – Is the SC line more efficient? In other words, how many worker-hours per 787?

  109. 109

    RE: AMS @ 108 – I doubt anyone knows that until they get going. But with the numbers thrown around on how many jobs this is, it wouldn’t seem to be, unless that’s also construction jobs included in that number. That article indicates the existing line is only 800-1000 workers. Maybe there are support people beyond that, but I recall this is about more than 1000 jobs.

  110. 110
    scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 105

    That could easily be Capital Hill, McDermott, or dare I say… Kent?

  111. 111

    By scotsman @ 109:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 105

    That could easily be Capital Hill, McDermott, or dare I say… Kent?

    Hey, am I saying it’s a bad thing? ;-)

    (Excluding the cheating on the wife part–of course.)

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