Sometimes, I think we just need a reminder that workers are on the front lines. Sometimes, we really just need to remember that.
Too often, we all get caught up in our own lives, our own struggles, even our own work toward a Democratic super-majority and White House. But there are people in this country really struggling. For Boeing workers, this all amounts to a slap in their collective face; the face of a worker who's sacrificed for Boeing to make it profitable. Profitable to the tune of $58 Billion annually.
Businessweek took Boeing to task for their arrogance:
Instead, Boeing's effort misfired badly. The machinists rejected the company's offer by 86%. Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Alan R. Mulally, who's running the show while new Boeing CEO W. James McNerney Jr. learns the ropes, denies that the company attempted to divide the union membership. Still, what's puzzling is why he hasn't yet found a face-saving way to end the standoff. A close reading of management's offer suggests that it could meet the IAM's key pension demands for just $90 million more over the three-year life of a new labor contract. Since that comes to less than 1% of the nearly $4 billion the company will spend on the IAM's total wage-and-benefit expense over that period, it's difficult to see what Boeing hopes to gain by a lengthy showdown. That's particularly true in light of analysts' estimates that Boeing will rack up more than $90 million in costs each month that the walkout drags on.
Underlying the current standoff are the poor relations Boeing has long had with the IAM. That became clear in last-minute talks between Calhoun and Blondin just before the strike began. The two were deadlocked over yet another relatively minor issue, involving worker training. Blondin recalls asking: "I just don't understand why you always fight us." Blondin says Calhoun replied: "You just don't get it. We represent Corporate America. You represent labor. We are always going to be adversaries." Boeing says Blondin's account was taken out of context.
Whatever the exact figures, the sums causing the impasse are essentially rounding errors for a company that hauls in $54 billion in annual revenues. With any savings to Boeing soon to be eaten up in the strike's first month, what's really driving Boeing remains a mystery.
Here's hoping this isn't anything like the 11 week American Axle strike.
In one respect, Boeing's ahead of the curve...they posted a power point to youtube, threatening workers with their "Best and Final" offer, the offer alluded to by BusinessWeek . Um, Boeing, you can do oh so much better than the offer you made and you know it. There's $54 billion in annual revenues saying you can do oh so much better than this:
Currently, talks have stalled and it's all about Boeing still, from Reuters:
But late on Monday, Boeing said in a statement that the latest talks were adjourned without an agreement and that no new talks were currently scheduled.
The union wants to bid on work and parts that have been outsourced. If these workers can compete, then why not? Boeing doesn't want to even open it up; it's a no sell for Boeing and in the end, what Boeing wants (more outsourcing) will end up costing jobs to the men and women of IAM.
They've been on strike now for 5 weeks. September 6th, 2008 is a long time to go without regular pay checks. Strike pay is not nearly enough to get these families by, pay for food or pay for mortgages.
Come on Boeing, do right by these workers; they've done right by you.
Here's hoping that we take a minute and look beyond all the current races going on right now. There really are real bread and butter issues to solve. If you have a minute, let Boeing know how you feel by DONATING to the strike fund:
There are many items we use everyday during a strike. Some items are donated and others are purchased.
We are grateful to every individual, company and organization who has donated items.
If you have any strike related items you would like to donate, please bring them by the hall nearest you.
Wood -- Clean burnable wood is always welcomed. Please only donate burnable wood. No painted or treated wood.
Pallets -- Not used for burning, they can be used for temporary shelter on the picket lines should the weather turn bad.
Bread -- We make a lot of sandwiches running a 24/7 operation.
Muffins/Doughnuts -- A nice morning snack
Eggs -- Egg salad sandwiches are the picketers delicacy. Ok, they're inexpensive and easy to make.
Fresh Vegetables -- Make great soups
Coffee -- Always a pleasure
We will pretty much take any donations of food items. If we cannot use them in a timely fashion, we will donate to our members to take home.
Everett Strike Donations - email@example.com
Seattle Strike Donations - firstname.lastname@example.org
Auburn Strike Donations - email@example.com
Renton Strike Donations - firstname.lastname@example.org