When Boeing left Washington for South Carolina in order to suppress the wages of its workers, it also left behind the quality work that had been provided by a highly skilled, union workforce. Now, that union-busting is backfiring as productivity has dropped immensely and Boeing is unable to meet their 787 Dreamliner production goals.
Boeing’s South Carolina facility is running behind projections and won’t make its goal of producing three 787 Dreamliners a month by the end of 2013. In fact, the Everett plant will have to make up the difference in order for the company to reach its overall goal of 10 jetliners a month by year’s end.
As recently as July 24, when Boeing announced second-quarter earnings, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney insisted the company is on track to hit 10 Dreamliners monthly by the end of this year.
But how Boeing accomplishes that has become more problematic. Company executives have started saying that Boeing’s North Charleston, S.C., plant is somewhat behind its goal of contributing three 787s monthly by the end of 2013.
The cost savings associated with moving to South Carolina, where workers are paid nearly half of what workers in the Everett, WA plant make, are now for naught. The Everett plant will be counted on to make up the difference.
For Boeing, the news is only getting worse as one of their largest global competitors, Airbus, is looking to move to Washington state to build their new engineering center. Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor explained the move:
We are attracted to Washington state for the same reason we were attracted to Wichita. That’s where the talent is,” he said. “If you want to have access to the talent that developed over the last 100 years of aviation, Washington is very fertile ground.”
Boeing moved to South Carolina to take advantage of “Right-to-Work” laws. In an internal memo that leaked they said, “the only consistent advantage attributed to Charleston was the ability to ‘leverage’ the site placement decision toward ‘rebalancing an unbalanced and uncompetitive labor relationship.’” Their new workforce is woefully inexperienced and cannot meet demand so they have to go back to Washington to get back on track. Meanwhile, their competitor is swooping in and taking advantage of the incredible wealth of skills in Washington. If karma has its way, the worker well will be dry before Boeing has a chance to return.