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Seattle’s first Socialist council member is now on record with a “radical” option for union workers in their standoff with Boeing: take over the factories.
“The workers should take over the factories, and shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine,” council member-elect Kshama Sawant told an audience of Union Workers,
Boeing is seeking a contract with union workers that would result in work for eight years on the new 777X airliner — provided that new employees go without a guaranteed pension.
“The only response we can have if Boeing executives do not agree to keep the plant here is for the machinists to say the machines are here, the workers are here, we will do the job, we don’t need the executives. The executives don’t do the work, the machinists do,” Ms. Sawant said.
She referred to such takeovers as “democratic ownership.”
“We can re-tool the machines to produce mass transit like buses, instead of destructive, you know, war machines,” she told KIRO 7.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/...

This needs to happen. That factory was built and paid for with tax subsides, credits, exemptions, and Washington state labor, mind, body and soul.

Crowd-source it, crowd fund it, and make it a worker owned cooperative . Make it happen. It's the only way we have left to move forward!

council member-elect Kshama Sawant is BRAVE and Progressive thinking.
FORWARD.

Boeing is demanding 8 billion in concessions to stay in state, those tax dollars aren't free. That's less money for schools and roads and fire depts. Washington State is all too willing to grant those billions, but Boeing is still threatening to leave. How many concessions has the state already given Boeing over the last few decades? Probably billions upon billions, and if Boeing wants to leave now- so be it. But they should be made to pay back every single cent they received in incentives before they run away.

That plant is owned as much by the tax payers of that state as it does to the company itself. And lest not forget about the Washington state workers that made the company what it is- i'd say they own a piece of that company as well.

Originally posted to csainvestor on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 04:47 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Gotta be frank (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    offgrid, marsanges

    While seizing the means of production and retooling them for production directed toward the Common Good sounds like a spectacular idea to me- and it is in fact a true third party sentiment (something that neither a contemporary Democrat nor a Republican would ever propose)-  I wonder if the councilperson's words are likely to have a positive effect (or any effect at all).

    Note that linking to the Washington Times is a great way not to get a recommendation. Even if I accept that the councilperson's words aren't being twisted to fit the Reverend Moon-owned paper's neocon agenda, I won't give that link any pageviews.

    As it stands, it sounds like the councilperson is conflating civilian aircraft construction with warplanes. I doubt she's misguided enough to actually think that way, but it certainly does explain why the Washington Times would print the quote (in or out of context).

  •  Not a bad idea (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Redfire, Chi, gabjoh, 6412093, quill

    Boeing just got a nearly 9 billion dollar tax break from Washington state and our 'Democrat' Governor and Senators.  Their response, offer machinists a contract that takes away pensions from the workers.  Boeing CEO will get a pension for $260,000 a month.

    Now Boeing threatens to move production out of the state!  Taking over the factories seems fair to me, time to share the wealth!

    •  The unfortunate scenario here is that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      Boeing is one of the two largest commercial airplane manufacturers in the world as well as a leading manufacturer for military airplanes as well.  

      Our government will not allow, nay, cannot allow any kind of disruption in this US industry.  It things come to a head, congress will strip away the workers rights in the name of national security.  That is the reality.

      This fight is more precarious than man people understand.

      •  Congress is on very thin ice... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quill, JeffW

        They would be better served by removing the CEO and supporting MBAs and stripping away their pensions.  They are only there to maximize profits, shipping jobs overseas is not helping the United States.

        They don't design products, build products or even produce new ideas or technology.

        •  Boeing is a public company owned by thousands (0+ / 0-)

          of shareholders. Neither Congress nor the employees has any ownership rights to the assets of the company. The board and management will make decisions regarding the manufacturing of the 777X based on their view of what is in the long term best interest of the shareholders, as they are required to do by law and their fiduciary duty to the owners.  

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:46:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  unless employees own stock in the company. (0+ / 0-)

            Right?  

            It's quite amazing how publicly traded corporations are all deciding that stripping pensions and destroying unions are in the best interest of the shareholders.

            •  A person's rights as an employee (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nextstep

              and rights as a shareholder are independent. As a Boeing employee your rights and employment relationship are determined by the contract negotiated by your union. As a shareholder you have a right to vote on the elect of directors. Each share has one vote. Boeing has 750 million shares outstanding. The rights are not connected. Unless your union has an independent pension fund where they are a large shareholder an employee/shareholder has no more influence on the board of directors than a non-employee shareholder.

              Depending on the labor market, and the skills needed, it is often in the long term interest of the shareholders to end the practice of defined benefit pension plans and to have non-union employees.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 12:31:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  750 million shares outstanding and each (0+ / 0-)

                share has a vote.  how many Boeing employees are there?  The only way employees retain some sort of control about their working life is via unions.  

                You have made it perfectly clear that once a company goes public, employees no longer matter.

                •  Employees matter to all companies (0+ / 0-)

                  public and private. It's just that private owners don't have the pressure of reporting results every quarter (or ever) and are not bound by fiduciary duty laws, allowing them much more flexibility. However, there are also two sides to the private company coin. Nearly all companies owned by private equity investors are private, and they are often much more bottom line oriented than public companies.

                  Boeing has approximately 170,000 employees.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:29:24 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  One share per vote vs. one shareholder per vote. (0+ / 0-)

                One share per vote is a recent phenomenon.

                fta: "Most historians assume that the power of individual shareholders has always been proportional to their investment (based on the one-vote-per-share voting rules so familiar in the 20th century), and therefore that large shareholders have always held the preponderance of power. This chapter suggests that this essentially timeless view of the distribution of power among American shareholders is simply wrong — that voting rules once routinely curbed the power of large shareholders — and that the failure to appreciate these (distinctively American) changes in the governance of corporations over the middle decades of the 19th century has, among other things, impoverished the understanding of late 19th-century debates about the nature of corporations."

    •  UnBlinkingEye - is Boeing threatening to move (0+ / 0-)

      existing manufacturing out of state or only not add the new 777X manufacturing to the products made in Washington State?

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:42:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most of these "incentive" deals (0+ / 0-)

      are shit, but there isn't a developed legal infrastructure in this country around this concept.   In Argentina bankruptcy law supports  the right of workers to take over the factory and operate it for profit.   My understanding is that they are obliged to pay off at least some debts owed by the previous owners.

      http://www.economicpopulist.org

      by ManfromMiddletown on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:36:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I didn't know that airliners were, you know, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk, Kasoru, misslegalbeagle

    war machines.

  •  One wonders who she has in mind to design her (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk, VClib

    airplanes. They won't be a Boeing product, and any workers remaining won't be going back to a Boeing line.

    Another fool self-identifies.

    •  You think Boeing can just throw away it's (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Constantly Amazed, JeffW, Mentatmark

      work force?  You think Boeing could just pack up and move its manufacturing to another state?

      Boeing is one of only two major commercial airplane manufacturers on the planet.  Abandoning it's current workforce, manufacturing plants and factories would be economic suicide.

      This fight is about dismantling American workers pensions.  Nothing more.  

      •  I have no idea. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib
        You think Boeing could just pack up and move its manufacturing to another state?

        But we're talking about a single aircraft model here. It seems doable from their point of view. Call their bluff.

        Or ask California how hard it is to move aircraft production.

        •  Unfortunately it's no bluff. Boeing couldn't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quill

          move their manufacturing facilities but if events spiral out of control our Government can and probably will put an end to this by siding against the workers and unions in the name of National Security.

          Perhaps government intervention against the Unions is the ultimate goal behind these stalled negotiations.  It wouldn't be the first time that a major corporation called on our government to intercede on their behalf in the name of national security.

          And if worker pensions end up getting the axe in the name of national security it will the government's fault, not Boeings.

          What a fortunate outcome for Boeing that will be.

        •  We were a big aircraft and missle manufacturing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          valion

          state. California chased them, along with most other heavy manufacturing union jobs, out of state.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:59:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Boeing will not move out of WA (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        arlandbaee, JeffW, quill, Mentatmark

        it will just direct its growth outside of WA.

        WA should never have given tax breaks to Boeing.  Boeing and all other businesses in WA should operate under the same tax policy.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 07:28:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Boeing isn't going to move the manufacturing of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OrganicChemist

        the products it currently makes in Washington State. However, given that new products can have a product cycle of 20 years or more they are going to review carefully the costs and benefits of Washington versus South Carolina, verses a green field site in a state like Texas. The board and management have a fiduciary duty to evaluate all options. I think the sentiment at the board level is to not add new products to the mix in Washington State and have manufacturing there focus on existing products. As those lines slowly retreat they will have time to build the experience base in South Carolina, or an additional new facility, as the workforce in Washington contracts. This will happen over a 10-20 year period. And if the union management relationships improve, I am sure Boeing understands the value of the intellectual capital it has in its experienced Washington work force and will consider it whenever a new product is being launched.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:56:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is about pensions, isn't it? Time to build (0+ / 0-)

          the experience base?  Now that is an exceptional statement.  One I haven't heard very often.  Why would the workforce in Washington contract?  Your statements are wholeheartedly anti union.  Why?

  •  don't the assets .. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, OrganicChemist

    belong legally to Boeing shareholders?   Is it legal to simply take wealth in this matter?  Sounds a little loopy.  

    The fact that Boeing gets legal tax subsidies is disgusting, but it is the fault of the legislators.  After all, Boeing management would get directly fired by shareholders or indirectly by shareholders through a corporate raider like Icahn if they did not maximize tax dodges.  Don't pass the tax subsidies in the first place!  And when Boeing lobbies for these gifts, show backbone in the first place.  Isn't Washington a blue state?

    I wasn't aware that there were that many skilled machinists in today's world that is full of liberal arts degrees.   Why wouldn't a decent bargain be struck that reflects wages and benefits in other comparable industries?

    •  You're right—the workers can't just TAKE (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, OrganicChemist

      the factory.  It belongs to Boeing.  So no, it isn't legal to seize the factory or whatever she's suggesting.  

      •  Occupying Boeing would not be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mentatmark

        illegally TAKING the factory, it would be a very powerful negotiating tactic.

        And if Boeing didn't negotiate, the workers could occupy it for a very long time.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:03:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  About as long as OWS held Zuccotti Park (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          I'm guessing that a worker occupation would not end well.

          •  Given Boeing's decision to shop around (0+ / 0-)

            for another impoverished government that will give them a $10 billion tax break, nothing about this is likely to end well.

            OWS held Zuccitti Park for two months.  That wouldn't be too bad, actually.

            The sit-down strikes of the 30s didn't occupy the auto plants nearly that long; maybe a week.

            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

            by 6412093 on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:50:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Republic Windows and Doors (0+ / 0-)

            is probably a better comparison.

            These folks did get the factory reopened, but ultimately it went under.  Workers from that recuperated factory have since formed a co-op which is functioning.  The IP issue is probably less important here than with a firm like Boeing.

            http://www.economicpopulist.org

            by ManfromMiddletown on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:42:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's trespassing. Of course it's illegal. It may (0+ / 0-)

          very well be a powerful negotiating tactic, but that doesn't mean it is legal.

    •  Really (0+ / 0-)
      I wasn't aware that there were that many skilled machinists in today's world that is full of liberal arts degrees.   Why wouldn't a decent bargain be struck that reflects wages and benefits in other comparable industries?
      If you had any understanding of the actual economy which exists in this country you would understand that skilled labor is a far less available than liberal arts degrees. Ever heard of CNC?   Use it as a search term on any job website, and tell me whether you really that the job prospects and pay of a skilled laborer are going to be lower than a liberal arts major.......
      The fact that Boeing gets legal tax subsidies is disgusting, but it is the fault of the legislators.  After all, Boeing management would get directly fired by shareholders or indirectly by shareholders through a corporate raider like Icahn if they did not maximize tax dodges.  Don't pass the tax subsidies in the first place!  And when Boeing lobbies for these gifts, show backbone in the first place.  Isn't Washington a blue state?
      Boeing is currently negotiating an incentive package from the state.  Here's an idea.  Most incentive packages include clawback provisions.  Why not require Boeing to put up the facilities, and intellectual property, which are associated with their incentive bid as collateral?  And demand a long term contract, something on the order of a typical development cycle. (so ~20 years.)

      http://www.economicpopulist.org

      by ManfromMiddletown on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:52:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boeing already (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, Mentatmark

    built a huge factory in South Carolina to build the 787, and their goal was to break the union.

    Its not enough that the Washington legislature agreed to shower Boeing the biggest tax break in history in return for the new 777X work, Boeing is demanding big take-aways from the workers too, who refused.

    Boeing is probably planning some evil undertaking now.

    I hope the workers do seize Boeing, it would serve the company right.  I'm only 150 miles away, I'll drive up for it.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 07:36:56 PM PST

  •  it's akin to Perry calling for successi (0+ / 0-)
  •  What's not a fantasy (0+ / 0-)

    is that Boeing is getting ready to screw 80,000 workers.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:38:45 PM PST

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