Who wins?

What comes to mind right now is what my predecessor wrote in this blog three years ago. At times like this, we greatly disappoint our customers.


Boeing’s Everett factory - one of the facilities affected by the work stoppage.

While the circumstances, issues, and the competitive situation are somewhat different in 2008 vs. what it was in 2005, something else that Randy said back then also still rings true: In a strike, nobody wins. Except maybe the competition.

Comments (26)

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Nobody wins, the employees lose because they don't get payed, the costumers lose because they don't get their plains when they expect them, Boeing loses because they are not making money, suppliers lose because their products have to wait and production may have to stop, transportation loses because they have nothing to ship, and when it's over, their is to much to move and the nightmare continues, and the unions lose because they run out of money fast and strikes feed into the anti-union movement and other right leaning groups.

The competition wins because they can still deliver their aircraft on time when the buyer expects them, Boeing can't. In a strike or in the midst of a strike, less orders are likely to be made by customers. Even if Airbus has labor problems of their own, at least they are working, at this time work at Boeing has stopped, they win, even if they make only one A380 per month or less, progress on the 787 for now has totally stopped on top of being delayed for nearly two years.

In this strike, I hope both sides are on the table discussing the dispute with a mediator, the worst thing would be if their was no one at the table like what happened with the grocery store strike in Southern California a few years ago, it went on for months, in the end many of those people found other jobs. The longer the strike lasts the worse it will be, the less time it lasts the less bad it will be.

When the strike is over I certainly will be glad to get back to the discussion of progress for the 747-8/I the 787 , the stellar sales of the 777-300ER and the big orders from airlines around the world.

Joe Driver (Lusby, MD):

I couldn't disagree more. I have no vested stake in any Boeing operation and I work for a private company that has nothing to do with aerospace, and I am not a union member. Do you really think you would have health insurance or a retirement program where you work if a union had not fought for it and made it an expected and established part of employment in America?

Major employers have always pushed back against these kinds of programs. As employees, we all win if unions fight for employee rights and benefits. Unionized or not, your current position and salary ride on the back of earlier union workers and union strikers who made their companies pay what is fair. You must toe the company line, but don't expect to get away with the "nobody wins" static you are trying to use here. Yes, others Do win, and you are included. Some things are worth fighting for.

Syed M. Hussain (Mukilteo, WA 98275):

In a strike, nobody wins. That is correct. We all think that we are so called educated/modern/ego oriented and know everything. If Boeing and IAM members do the simple math, they know that both are loser (millions of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$).

What is the solution??? Please come to a sense!!!

- Assume 30 days strike.
- IAM wages loss = $$$$$$$$$
- Boeing overall loss = $$$$$$$$$ including tangible like other suppliers loss who support Boeing, customer satisfaction etc.

Solution: COMPROMISE, Compromise, compromise in-between and be a Happy family. Let's build the new airplane 787.

Dave (Sea-Tac):

Your assessment of the strike is correct - the only winner is Airbus. The IAM is on a collision course with self-destruction that they seem oblivious to. Imagine- striking to prevent outsourcing. Isn't that just like clear-cutting for pristine forests? If they want job security and to prevent outsourcing maybe we should hear them (for the first time) start to push hard to improve productivity.

So far, they only think of their own interests - the company be darned. They want more pay for less work - a guarantee that union membership will decline as outsourcing becomes more of an economic necessity in this increasingly globe economy. These are self-inflicted wounds that are completely avoidable.

Frank Woodson (wichita Kansas) (Wichita, Kansas US):

Seems the new hires that come in after (IF union members gets better contract) will win. The union members will also win that are approaching retirement, IF better retirement package is negotiated.

Dave Doering (Renton, WA - home of the 737):

I agree with your analysis, and I really don't understand the Company's apparent eagerness to prolong the strike. While the work disruption may possibly benefit the 787 program (and even that is debatable), there is no justification for antagonizing our customers who are anxiously waiting for delivery of their new airplanes across the current model line-up.

Isn't it about time for management to get their collective heads out of the sand and get back to the table with the IAM? At first glance I would have sided with the Company and thought the union stance was unjustified and perhaps even foolhardy. But the more I see of the details behind the picture that Boeing management has been broadcasting, the more I agree with the IAM's recommendation to not accept the "Best and Final Offer." Surely you can do better than that and get the Boeing train back on the tracks. You might even get the stock price back up out of the toilet.

farmertom (Auburn, WA):

"Class" relations are an interesting topic, and the current impasse can be seen as an example of class conflict. The media if full of stories of erosion of the middle class. Think about what the typical IAM worker's view of Boeing management is?

They don't believe that management is on their side. It would be interesting to see a comparison of the history of the benefits packages that the IAM folks have enjoyed versus those that Boeing management has enjoyed. Are the cumulative annual growth rates in wages comparable? I doubt it.

We've created a culture of "get it while you can, 'cause you're the only one who's gonna watch out for you". The IAM sees management as greedy. Management seems to see the IAM as greedy. Show me the data.

Ken Weber (Seattle, wa):

Saying nobody wins in a strike may not be true in this case.
A major contention point this time is "outsourcing". If outsourcing is not limited, then only a few already rich executives and investors will win in the end. Those winners in this case might be able to afford to buy their life styles somewhere else when the company, the economy and the country fails.

Larry Schultz:

All I can say is the management of businesses in this country should lead by example. If that management obtains for itself gross, bloated, salaries, how can they expect anything else from an organized union bureaucracy?

John M. Stock (St. Charles, Missouri):

No one wins! Being responsible, ethical and forthright are the qualities needed in a negotiation.Boeing loses millions or billions, workers loose thousands.

Wouldn't it a breath of fresh air to have both sides have input? Followed by agreement. Boeing launched a very risky, to me, assembly/fabrication of a brand new type of airplane. I still feel that the American workers are extremely talented, good followers, masterful assemblers. It really is a bitter pill to swallow to workers, when they never had the opportunity to fabricate and build planes that they have done in the past 75 years. Seems a waste of talent. I hope we have all learned a lesson from this. Why not "try American" along with "buy American"

Phil (Renton, WA) (Renton, WA):

Strike or a month of paid vacation time?

Comparing the rate/hr in France for an experienced Airbus machinist without highlighting the taxes regime there, is an apple/orange type of comparison.

More info on French taxes:

It has been argued that in order to save the middle-class, a nation needs strong unions. Is it what the IAM is fighting for or has greed taken over?

Ernie. Troncelliti (Johnson City, NY):

When I came to work for Boeing. I was given a Fair Salary and excellent Benefits. (which I accepted) based on performance I have been rewarded yearly. I would love to have the Salary increases that Boeing offered the Union employees.

Boeing made me their EMPLOYEE. I think that is where the dividing line is. As an employee, Boeing didn't take me on to take care of all the needs that I am responsible for. Boeing should also not be responsible for all the things that I think it would be nice to have. They are my responsibility.
I am thankful to be employed when thousands of others, such as the Auto Industry Union Workers are out of work.

I would think that overblown complaints about how bad everything is would be better addressed @ the Governmental Election Ballot Boxes. By electing House and Senate Representatives that are not Lawyers, a closed confraternity with self vested interests. Instead of the Tax paying citizens

Ben Franklin said it Best. "People in these United States do not have the Intelligence to elect people to represent them."


I'm convinced that IAM leadership is the only winner in the union game. At best, union participants get their dues back in the form of bonuses from Boeing. Essentially, Boeing ends up transferring assets directly to IAM leadership.

P. Michael (Seattle, WA):

So then, who wins during when our management declares we're "sort of in a cooling-off period."?

Greg (Everett, WA):

If no one wins, why did Boeing management allow it to happen? An 80% plus rejection rate tells me, the company was no where near the expectations of the employees. The several IAM workers I know, and talked to before the vote, basically said, it was NOT about the up front monitary numbers. It was about the take aways, that once added up made the pay raises almost nil.

The Company needs to step up as a world class company, embrace all it's employees, eat some crow if they have to, and be willing to get back to the negotiating table. The quote is.. "it takes a big man to admit when they are wrong" It's time to admit it, and get back to the table. Who's going to be the big man 1st? I'd like to think I work for the biggest man.

Timothy Barto (Renton, WA):

One of the negotiation sticking point deals with outsourcing....a complicated issue dealing with geo-politics - thats a fact. Some of our sales are in part because of the purchasing entity has some stake in the product's development or fabrication...this is a no-brainer.

Our best defense against economic outsourcing is to create an environment where it doesn't make any sense because it cost's more to go off shore. Striking is not the remedy for outsourcing - period. Being more efficient and effective than the competition is.


In a strike, nobody wins; except maybe the competition. How true it is. Sometimes there are good reasons to stand your ground. These concerns should be addressed long before labor contracts are due for renewal. Usually economic reasons are not the problem. Job security and seniority tend to be the stumbling block.

The rank and file employees are often reminded that human resources are the company's most valued resource and it's hard to dispute that statement. On the other hand our company, along with many others, continue to outsource work done by it's people and in many cases, work is moved to other countries. It isn't difficult to understand why these people feel the way they do.

Since the arrival of the concept of "Globalism" and outsourcing, countless American companies have adopted these ways of doing business. Globalism has taken the place of fair normal trade. If the interests of your own country aren't upheld, after a period of time it will take it's toll and I shutter to thing where it will end. Take a look at our national economy the way it is now with little hope of improving, with the way it was before. Outsourcing often leads to work not properly being done and therefore rework is required or redo in some cases. This effects everyone except maybe those at the upper end of the ladder.

Fewer good paying jobs, fewer tax dollars collected by Uncle Sam, higher national debt, fewer dollars available for defense spending. Offsetting business is one thing, but many of these countries have more wealth than we and buy very few of our products anyway. Their citizens live in mud huts and cardboard boxes. Right or wrong, a labor contract is a poor way of settling these matters. Both sides lose.

Rene Heuscher (Kenmore, WA):

This failure is not really about money. Money is the symptom, the effect or cost to all. Money is easy to measure. If it were about money this would be easy to solve.

The true failure is one of imagination, vision and perception. It is treating each other as human, therefore worthy of respect. This is about openness, trust, truth, fairness and good faith. Sounds simple but so hard to repair when broken.

This story is sad, another bargaining union is currently experiencing these behaviors. The old story was win-win interest based bargaining, problem solving and an open culture. That story has been tossed in the waste basket.

The new story goes: “I have a plan; I am already committed to that vision. Your needs do not necessarily align with my picture. Therefore, I choose not to listen to you. I am going to use every backdoor available to bring my vision to fruition. I am smart; I know best; I am a great promoter; I am going to win.”

Even the sweetest pastry is bitter when served by a rude waiter.

Dan (Seattle):

The Unions here don't get us anything special--they brag how they got us EIP (which the non-union employees had for years), they take dues from us whether we want to be represented or not: If they had ANY confidence that they really added value, they would allow membership/representation to be optional, so they would actually have to compete with non-union/non-contract benefits. But of course they won't do that, as they know they do nothing for us. We get a chance at improvements once every three years--non-union employees can get improvements continously.

Once every three years the IAM wants a vacation, wants to do a power play, and does not care that they hurt everyone around them, including themselves. Striking is really good way to Incentivize Boeing to INCREASE outsourcing--but that simple logic does not penetrate thru the emotional irrational power play mentality.

Steve (Everett, WA):

We are "The Boeing Company" and we are here to serve our Customers.


(I don't mean to be long, but this is important, for our customers, you and me, our families, our company, and our nation. We are all human, "Together We Stand, Divided We Fall" together we can overcome (Great Challenges) and our own tendency to make 'human' errors. If we operate as a divided body the head won't know where the toes are, or where the feet are running to. And don't forget the corollary "Divide and Conquer" proven over and over for thousands of years.)


If we do a good job meeting/exceeding our customer's needs (the right products for a fair price), (and know one takes them while we're day dreaming), then we're rewarded as a company. The rank and file do most of the work, are closest to the nitty gritty details, and know where the opportunities are, (listen to them). Don't ignore subject matter experts. Look around there's plenty of examples of "management knows better than a SME" (mistakes, 787, ...). Our senior leadership is charged with exercising the 'Vision' to strategically plot the road ahead, 5~15 years, and communicate to management our 'Strategic' direction, with a sound strategic plan. That management can use to provide good metrics to honestly track our progress, set good milestones for real celebration, and use Key Result Areas, Key Process Areas, and Key Process Indicators so the rank and file can ensure our weekly, monthly, and annual performance is on track to meet, or 'Exceed' all expectations.

Management needs to communicate effectively, listen to the rank and file, ensure effective use of ALL resources, and be sure the SMEs needs are met, both on the job, and in the bank. Our performance is a reflection of how well our management supports the people that make it happen--daily!

We are partners in this grand endeavor; we take it on each day. If anyone would drive a wedge between us, tell us we shouldn't pay a fair wage, or take what they don't deserve, we should send them packing. Divisive counter productive individuals should be strongly encouraged to work for the competition, outside our company, not rotting us from within. In that way they lighten our load, allowing us to rise higher, and Win-Win-Win-Win-Win-Win (defined later). We owe it to our customers, we owe it to our nation, and we owe it to each other.

When we do a Good Job, our customers are rewarded with Great Products (better than they dreamed) and they remain solid customers to the end. The rank and file designs and delivers those products. Good management ensures the right resources are available, that SMEs needs are being met, that sound processes are established, well maintained, and issues are clearly communicated up-down-and-sdieways to acquire resources as need to met the needs of the SMEs. Because the internal customer (our SMEs) know their individual customer's needs best, FAA, NTSB, Operators, Mechanics, Pilots, Flight Test, etc. In this way we meet the needs of our customers.

When Managers do a good job, the can stand back in awe, if they take good care of their people their people will take good care of them, even when they make a mistake... They can look ahead; ensure their people are empowered with good processes, good direction, good materials, good plans, and good feedback. Listen to your people, ensure opportunities for improvement are capitalized on, to improve productivity, product quality, create and follow sound processes, and spur innovation to put dust between us and our competition. Else, if we rest, we risk eating dust, and wondering where they came from.

Leadership needs to ensure all others have what they need to do their best, good strategic direction, good strategic plans, sound judgment, and a challenge for good measure (not a pipe dream, or a policy of how deep can we cut our muscle before our leg falls off).

Then we need to be sure everyone is rewarded fairly according to our success as a company and each groups and individuals service to our customers, external, and internal. No one should be taking or given more than they deserve, or asked to take less than their fair share. After we "The Boeing Company" are properly rewarded for doing a Great Service our Aerospace customers, then our stock holders should be rewarded for their faith, trust, and the capital they have provided "The Boeing Company" to do Great Things in Aerospace.

When our Customers Win, Boeing Wins, When Boeing Wins, our People should Win (The rank and file), when our people Win, our Management Wins, when our management wins, our Leadership Wins, and When our leadership wins, our Stockholders Win, and When everybody is winning our Nation wins, and when our nation wins, the World Wins. In the end we are only as strong as our weakest link, and our resolve to strengthen it, or break it apart.

The head doesn’t survive without the body, but if it swells BIG enough, it thinks it can. We need balance for the long run, to make it down the path. Our Nation is still Young, we are still being tested by time, and we are still challenging the lessons of time. We cannot ignore history, or we will all pay tuition.

Where we are on our path is because of many successes, vision, hard work, triumphs, sacrifices, failures, assumptions, selfishness, and trails. To Maximize our future success, we MUST restore our health, to honestly deal with each other, fairly share in our success, challenge each other, and work together to put dust between us and the competition.

We come from all over the world, to dream a BIG dream, work together, and achieve what others thought impossible. Take on the perspective of those in our military service "There's no room for second place!"

I know from my short time here at Boeing that there are a lot of Great People all around, making a lot of Great things happen each day, and a lot of happy customers sporting Boeing products. But there are still many challenges, opportunities, and processes to be improved. There's plenty of fruit on the trees. If we work to do our best, to listen, to teach, to learn, to innovate, and to apply best practices, then we can reap rewards beyond everyone's imagination. Let’s be sure to treat each other fairly along the way, to share the fruits of our labor, to watch for and lift up the weary, and to send the subversive along the way.

We have some growing to do, growing pains to suffer, and medicine to take. But in the end I hope everyone remembers we're here to serve our customers, and work together to Win. If we lose sight of who they are inside and outside the company, we ALL Lose.

So let's right what's wrong, hold each other accountable, lift each other up, WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN, and show them all how it's done, here in the U.S.A.

Brad Van Gorder (Richfield, MN):

What is the truth about the outsourcing issue? Can you talk about that a little?

Bensliman (Soisy-sous-Montmorency, Paris, France):

Thank you for IAM which throw money and find not reals solutions !

Thank you and congratulations for IAM
Cheer Airbus thank to IAM !
Damage for Boeing and his customers !

Maybe the IAM work for Airbus ??? (irony of course)

Sorry for my english.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

You people best sort out your differences as quickly and as efficiently as possible because, the difficulties you guys are going through pales in comparison to what the industries that finance this one are in. I think the timing of this strike is outrageous. And, I think the fact that both sides allowed the strike in the first place under these conditions is equally - if not more - outrageous. Wake up people.

Phil (Renton, WA):

Echoing the following posts from

Dave (Sea-Tac),
Timothy Barto (Renton, WA):
Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):


Why doesn't the union and Boeing agree to extend the expired contract for 3 more years-no gains or losses for either side and get back to building and delivering airplanes during this very critical time in our economy! Everyone will lose soon with the stubbornness going on.


Yes unions had a role in establishing health care, etc. in the past. But in the current stalemate, the issue of outsourcing does not affect current
employees and as Boeing stated, helps stabilize the workforce levels overall. It's time to move forward from past discrepancies that are no longer in
question. With the admittedly generous package Boeing offered, I don't understand why the union members are so stubborn.

I do understand why the
union itself feels threatened - the loss of possible future members, but the union should first and foremost cater to the current members. I feel the
company has a right to establish whatever business model it pursues especially if it makes economic sense and really doesn't negatively impact current employees. I believe that the strike as costly as it is to both sides will probably benefit Boeing in the long run.

First, it helps catch up loose ends from our subcontractors and secondly helps the long term business climate regarding the ability to contract out work where it makes sense. Also, it sets up a psychological toughness towards future negotiations that would make all parties act with more reason.

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