Outsourcing at crux of boeing strike

Outsourcing at crux of boeing strike - Outsourcing at Crux...

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See a sample reprint in PDF format. Order a reprint of this article now SEPTEMBER 8, 2008 Dow Jones Reprints: This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers, use the Order Reprints tool at the bottom of any article or visit Outsourcing at Crux of Boeing Strike As Job Security Emerges as Issue for Both Sides, Delays in 787 Dreamliner Become Union Rallying Point World U.S. New York Business Markets Tech Personal Finance Life & Culture Opinion Careers Real Estate Small Business By J. LYNN LUNSFORD Seattle -- At the heart of the union machinists' strike against Boeing Co. is a high-stakes showdown over something the aerospace giant once touted as a manufacturing innovation: Its effort to outsource key roles in producing its new 787 Dreamliner jet. Nearly 27,000 machinists walked off the job at 12:01 a.m. Saturday after last-ditch talks for a new three-year contract failed. While wages and health-care costs are big issues, job security has emerged as perhaps the most crucial one, with both sides signaling that the new contract represents a major crossroads. Boeing says it needs flexibility in its manufacturing to avoid the problems that have befallen other big industrial companies, while the union is fighting to keep as many jobs as possible. The flashpoint in that debate is Boeing's troubled 787 Dreamliner program, which striking workers point to as Exhibit No. 1 in their case against outsourcing. Boeing extolled the business virtues of having suppliers from as far away as Japan and Italy build much of the fuel-efficient new jetliner, with Boeing performing final assembly. But the plan backfired when suppliers fell behind in getting their jobs done, and the 787 program is now more than a year behind schedule. Boeing was forced to turn to its own union work force to piece together the first few airplanes after they arrived at the company's factory in Everett, Wash., with thousands of missing parts. That
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