We should be aghast that Boeing is sending a big fat market signal that it wants a less-skilled, lower-quality work force. This country is in a debt crisis because we buy abroad much more than we sell. Alas, because of this trade deficit, foreign creditors have the country in their clutches. That’s not because of our labor costs—in that respect, we can undersell most of our high-wage, unionized rivals like Germany. It’s because we have too many poorly educated and low-skilled workers that are simply unable to compete.
As one of the commenters there at WSJ notes, publishing this piece of leftist drivel is far more effective than posting 100 pieces by conservatives. I mean, unless you’ve seen such stupidity with your own eyes, you wouldn’t believe it to be possible.
Boeing is being challenged by the National Labor Relations Board for wanting to open a second 787 production line in South Carolina. NLRB alleges this action is punishment for union activities in Boeing’s Washington plants. But really, it is just NLRB punishing Boeing for trying to run its own business. Boeing’s South Carolina plant will not displace a single worker (union or otherwise) in Washington. Instead, it is intended to increase capacity over their existing plants in Washington. Boeing has managed to sell a great number of 787s. What they haven’t managed to do yet is build a lot. So they need to crank out as many as they possibly can in a short period of time (say, a decade or so). Customers may be more than willing to wait five years for a Dreamliner. But without a second production line, that same customer may be looking at a 10 year wait. Which is another ballgame entirely. And those customers will likely decide that an Airbus today is worth more to them than a 787 sometime in the distant future.
Further, the author’s contention that quality necessarily suffers when production moves South is refuted by the large numbers of foreign car makers that have established plants in the South without any noticeable decline in either quality, or customer satisfaction. BMW springs to mind.
Mr. Geoghehan’s op-ed is simply union protectionism posing as concern for Boeing’s well being. But his laughably transparent attempt to bolster support for union production is counterproductive, as seen by the nearly unanimous sneering contempt in which he is held by the commenters.