Editorial: A double-take — A chance to show Boeing what we have to offer
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Nov 20, 2013 | 1586 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at a signing event for legislation to help keep production of Boeing's new 777X in Washington, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Photo: Elaine Thompson/The Associated Press
Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at a signing event for legislation to help keep production of Boeing's new 777X in Washington, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Photo: Elaine Thompson/The Associated Press
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In Seattle, Boeing was making plans to build its new 777X, a plane being called the future of the company. But the machinists’ union voted overwhelmingly against what the company calls a contract extension and workers call things that cannot be repeated in a family newspaper. With that vote, plans to build the 777X in Washington state were put on hold.

Alabama should be more than mildly interested in the union’s rejection of Boeing’s efforts to save money by revising pension plans and increasing benefit costs.

Given the unflattering things Boeing said about Alabama when the state was competing for the contract to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force, we should be happy (or at least mildly amused) to see the company get knocked about a bit.

Serves ’em right.

When the machinists’ union voted no, Boeing announced it was going to look for other, more friendly locations for its new round of plane-building. On the list were Salt Lake City, Long Beach, Calif., North Charleston, S.C., and — get ready — Huntsville. (Yes, the one in Alabama.)

Our once-denigrated state and our insulted workforce are looking pretty good now.

Of course, this may be a ploy to get the union to give in, but considering that the contract was rejected by a 2-1 voting margin, it is unlikely that will happen. Boeing might also be hoping that the Washington state Legislature may sweeten the already-sweet incentive package it passed. That is more likely, but it might not be enough.

If neither of those things happen, Boeing is reportedly preparing to shop around and see what other locations might offer. Because the company already has a presence in Huntsville, and because the city has a skilled, technological trained, largely non-union workforce, it might well be able to compete with the others.

We’ll be watching to see how Gov. Robert Bentley and the state’s economic development team approach this opportunity. How we sell ourselves to Boeing will say a lot about the sort of state we are.

This page hopes these efforts will make Boeing take back the nasty things it said about Alabama and its workers.
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