It started when Boeing came back to machinists, in the midst of a existing contract, and demanded that they accept a "contract extension." The word extension might make you think that this continued the existing terms. Nope. In this case, what Boeing referred to as an extension, meant that workers would be surrendering their pensions in exchange for a "deferred payment plan."
To sweeten the deal, Boeing offered ... well, nothing really. Instead, what they issued was a threat. Do this, or the jobs will simply move.
It wasn't the first time. Boeing had made previous demands of workers to surrender pay and benefits. Construction of the 787 "Dreamliner" went to South Carolina when workers at Everett refused to lay down (and hey Boeing, how did that work out for you?). Boeing's giant dick move essentially makes the terms of any contract valueless. Eight year contract? Sure, whatever. Because at any time we're going to come back to you and tell you to give us what we want, if you want to have a job.
Read below the fold for more on Boeing.
Naturally the machinists said no.
20,000 Boeing machinists in the Puget Sound voted to reject Boeing’s proposed contract extension with a 67 percent no vote. ...Just as naturally, Boeing did what any modern American corporation would do. They went in search of the Great American Corporate Bootlicking.
"We preserved something sacred by rejecting the Boeing proposal. We’ve held on to our pensions and that’s big. At a time when financial planners are talking about a ‘retirement crisis’ in America, we have preserved a tool that will help our members retire with more comfort and dignity."
From coast to coast, states are rushing to impress Boeing with lavish incentive packages that offer property, labor deals and billions of dollars in tax breaks. All this in the hopes that the aerospace giant will select them to assemble the new 777X — or at least give them a wing to construct.Sure, Alabama is in the mix. It's already lured Airbus with fat tax breaks and low salaries, and naturally Utah and the Carolinas are waving their tasty right-to-treat-workers-as-disposable laws under Boeing's nose. But still, there's one state that's gone all in to knee crawl to the front of the line.
The Boeing buzz has been loudest in Missouri, where Gov. Jay Nixon immediately convened a special legislative session to approve an incentive package valued at up to $1.7 billion over more than two decades. The plan passed the Senate with bipartisan support Wednesday and could win final approval in the House on Friday. Boeing never even had to send a lobbyist to talk to a lawmaker.A $1.7 billion package for Boeing when earlier in the year Gov. Nixon chopped $400 million out of next year's budget. Republicans in the state have been crying out for much higher cuts, so where do they expect to find the funding?
Missouri Sen. Eric Schmitt, a Republican hoping to entice Boeing to expand in his hometown of St. Louis, called the package "a transformational opportunity."
The Senate vote occurred after Nixon met earlier in the day with five Republican senators who had wanted to offset the Boeing incentives with reductions to existing tax credits benefiting the developers of low-income housing and historic buildings.Yes, emphasis mine. This little note, 18 paragraphs into the AP article on the Missouri Senate vote, tells you everything you need to know about American politics today. A corporation seeing huge increases in profits, a corporation that just gave its CEO a massive raise, does not even have to raise a finger to get states begging to give them more. And Republicans are more than willing to provide so long as they can directly take funds intended to help the poor.
The senators who attended the meeting told the AP that Nixon assured them he would work aggressively on a broader tax-credit overhaul during the regular legislative session that starts Jan. 8. Although Nixon didn't commit to a specific action, the senators expressed hope that the governor would use his executive powers to slow down the issuance of tax credits - thus exerting leverage on reluctant lawmakers to pass a tax-credit overhaul bill that has stalled in years past.
Governor Nixon held off that demand, but only by promising broad revisions to the current tax-credit system, which, with a large majority of hyper-conservative Republicans in both chambers of the state legislature, will only lead to the same thing. Every Missourian will pay to lure a company turning its back on the workers that made it great, and the bill will be footed by taking that money from those who need it most. Republicans and Democrats alike will pretend that this represents bringing "good jobs" to the state. What it really represents is the ongoing path toward ensuring there are no good jobs. Not in Missouri or anywhere else.
At a time when corporate profits are at record highs, those same corporations are still happy to slurp up piles of free state cash, even if it means that the poor and middle class foot the bill. That's on top of the big win Boeing gets in showing workers that contracts mean nothing, even in states where they supposedly do. People huddled in the streets will get the great joy of sleeping beneath newspapers trumpeting the next raise given to Boeing executives. And by the way, while Boeing is anxious to cut the pensions of the workers, it's not worried about the $250,000 a month pension promised to the CEO.
Not only are corporations not people, they're inhuman. And state politicians in Missouri are not showing that they are much better.