The Boeing Company is attempting to double-cross Washington state. Boeing plans to send more than a thousand jobs out of state despite an agreement (or what was thought to be an agreement) that would keep folks employed in the state in exchange for a $8.7 billion tax break.
Unfortunately, state lawmakers failed to thoroughly close every possible loophole when writing the legislation giving Boeing the tax break. As a result, Boeing has found enough wiggle room to reduce its Washington work force in favor of lesser-paid employees in other states.
About 4,300 well-paid employees are slated to be, well, canned.
A union representing thousands of employees isn’t pleased.
“We as a state did not agree to $8.7 billion worth of tax breaks ... so that they could create minimum-wage manufacturing jobs, and move good-paying engineering jobs out of state,” said Larry Brown, legislative director for District 751 of the International Association of Machinists.
Union leaders said they will seek legislation to hold Boeing accountable for creating and maintaining middle-class jobs with the state tax incentives the company received last year.
Clearly Boeing did not live up to the spirit of the agreement. Shame on it. However, lawmakers made an expensive mistake in not making the agreement ironclad. Shame on them.
Boeing’s effort to save millions of dollars by shipping jobs out of state is far from a shock.
The warm-and-fuzzy days when Seattle was considered Boeing Town ended in 2001 when the company relocated its headquarters to Chicago.
Boeing expects to save an average of $60,000 a year in pay and benefits per engineer transferred from the Puget Sound region to lower-paying locations, The Seattle Times reported.
Documents show the company is looking to lay off employees by closing research labs in the Seattle area while moving the work to new engineering centers in Alabama, South Carolina and Missouri, The Times reported.
Nevertheless, Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Legislature should try to do what they can to salvage this mess.
Perhaps there are flaws to be found in Boeing’s plan to send jobs out of state or maybe Washington can somehow get Boeing back to the bargaining table.