How the Boeing Situation might have played out if I had a say as Congressman for the 2nd District.
Event: Boeing would approach the State asking for a break on their taxes to the tune of 8.7 Billion dollars and concessions from the Union in wages and benefits. Lacking such State and labor concessions Boeing intends to solicit bids from other states before deciding where to build the 777’s.
My response: I would call for an emergency meeting of any interested elected officials to take place in Olympia. In this meeting, an investigative committee would be formed, composed of elected officials primarily from locations where the aircraft production facilities are located, who would meet with Boeing executives to hear their reasons for this threat. The committee’s purpose will be to question Boeing’s reason for taking this action and hear concerns from the IAM Union.
The next step will be a series of public hearings and separate hearings of all Boeing workers, union, non-union, contractors and suppliers. Representatives from Boeing and all the workers Unions are encouraged to attend and field questions.
Finally a report on the committee’s findings along with our recommendations would be presented to the State legislature while simultaneously being made available to every citizen, through the internet.
Problem: Boeing wants immediate action.
My Response: Then they should have approached us sooner. The State is not bound by their timetable! They will hear from us after we have done our due diligence.
Outcome: As before, the State legislature will vote on whether to give Boeing the tax break and the amount, if any. Before a vote is taken and any decision made however, Boeing must agree to a separation of the tax issue from the Union concessions. In other words, no vote will be taken on the tax breaks if the decision to move will still need the concessions of the union. It is not the job of the state government to have any influence one way or the other in collective bargaining.
Through this process the state hopes to inform all the people of the situation and give them a clear understanding of the issue. And most importantly, all our officials will know where the people stand at the end of this process so they can vote as their constituency wants them too.
Of course, this would be the democratic way to handle the situation. And my gut tells me Boeing would balk at democracy and start receiving bids from other states. At this point I would ask the Governor to send a letter to Boeing CEO McNerney, informing him the State intends to purchase the Company’s property and equipment in order to prevent local residents from losing their jobs. Every effort will be made to reach a fair agreed upon price, but if an agreement cannot be reached, the state’s power of eminent domain will be exercised. The letter will also let McNerney know he has one week to stop receiving bids on the 777 and let the process of the investigatory committee play out. If no response is received at the end of one week, appraisers will be sent out to value the property.
So, our appraisers will gather up their measuring equipment, the state lawyers will bury their noses in applicable law and the investigatory committee will go about their work with or without the inclusion of the Boeing Corporation. Their ability to manufacture and sell airplanes will not be impeded in any way during the legal process. But the second there is any attempt to relocate production or move any equipment, law enforcement will step in to protect the property and the workers’ jobs. Not one drill bit will leave the state. Eminent domain will take effect and all Boeing customers will be contacted and informed that production of their planes will continue even as a buyer for the company is sought or workers take over ownership.
Now, some people will say I’m crazy, taking this kind of tough stance. I call it doing my damn job. Boeing executives would say this action amount to nothing more than blackmail and extortion. Yeah…Blackmail and extortion, that wouldn’t be right, would it Mr. McNerney?
I made this audio file to rally all workers to come together and fight back. This is a crucial time and an excellent opportunity to build the union if you can only put aside your hard feelings, set the union right, and take on the true culprit, Boeing! Whatever you voted, you don’t deserve this treatment and should not have to put up with it. Get involved, make change and fight back! I guarantee you there will be one representative standing with you and against the actions of the Boeing corporation.
Thank you for helping me beat the big money interests.
Well its official. I announced today that I will be running for Congress against Rick Larsen. I will have video soon but wanted to get some of the speech out tonight. So here are two audio sections that address Boeing’s blackmail and extortion of IAM workers and the Stunning two dozen city council candidate election victories which took place in Ohio recently. Enjoy
Here is the interview I did on KSER with my old friend, Dave Cohen, a retired Organizer for the United Electrical Radio & Machine Workers of America Union (UE). We met when Dave was organizing the shop I worked at way back in 1973. The interview subject is worker owned and run businesses. The first 18 minutes I speak about our efforts with getting The Firewheel Community Coffeeshop up and running as a small worker owned and run business. Of interest to all union and non-union workers (Boeing Workers particularly) is the discussion with David about workers taking over and running the shop. The UE is the union that seized and Occupied the Republic Windows Factory. (The story gained international attention during the 2008 Presidential Election). David Cohen epitomizes what Rank and File unionism looks like. I encourage all the Boeing Rank and file to listen to this interview with Dave. He comes in about the 18 minute mark.
I was at the Seattle City Hall Inauguration of Kshama Sawant today. I did not want to miss this Historical event. Not only is Kshama the first socialist elected in over 100 years, the event also presented us with the first legally married gay Mayor, Ed Murray. Here is Kshama’s Inauguration Speech.
(For some reason reporters wanted to keep interviewing me on video. I am in this report and another. Let me know if you find more. Pretend your playing “Where’s Waldo”. :-)
Kshama made it clear her first item on the agenda now is the fight for a $15/hr minimum wage. This was not your typical Inaugural Speech. It spoke to a segment of the population that has lacked the representation they deserve for too long, the workers who are the heart and soul of not just Seattle but our Nation. We have an opportunity now to make our government work for all the people. But it will take a grassroots effort by “the people” to make that happen.
I ask all the district two voters to join with me in support of the $15/hr minimum wage. We must bring the fight, started in Seatac, to Seattle. It is critical that we expand the struggle for a liveable wage while the momentum is growing. I will carry on the the will of the people at the federal level lifting all low pay workers out of poverty and give them a chance to reach out for the American dream that has been stolen by the greedy corporations and the Wall Street bankers and Financiers.
We are all in this together. The corporations are preparing to mount an offensive against the working poor even as they celebrate what they foolishly think is their victory over Boeing workers. We have those living on starvation wages and those who have just had the benefits and wages they fought for stripped away, all in the name of profit! The American working class in in a boat that is taking on water quickly. We must all bail out the boat or it will surely sink!
This fight for a living wage is every workers fight, and that includes Boeing workers. The battle continues in the IAM union to reverse the Boeing takeaways but I urge all union members to show solidarity with these non-union low wage workers. Funnel the anger and frustration into a useful cause. Stand together, all workers, all communities.
There will be a LAUCH RALLY for the $15/hr minimum wage on Sunday January 12th at the Seattle Labor Temple. Click to view Rally page.
This will be the beginning of a struggle to return labor to the time of unbreakable solidarity. The coming triumphs lay in the struggle more than the victory itself. Strenght comes from struggle. The oldtimers who fought the company thugs and sat down in the factories know that nothing will cut through the steel of your resolve. Pick yourselves up from this setback and move on the the next battle.
If you want to go to this Rally please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you have a car and can help transport people to the Temple in Seattle let me know. We will meet at the Firewheel Community Coffeehouse @ 2727 Colby Ave in Everett around 12:30 pm and leave for the rally at 1 pm.
The vote is in, and the extortion by Boeing, the unwelcome pressure by our so called representatives, and the unfettered influence of the 1% in our political system is on the verge of resulting in another economic step back for working people and a prelude to further shrinkage of the middle class. No one should be forced to relinquish what they fought for. No one should have their standard of living held hostage to feed an already mammoth profit, corporate bonuses and other perks. And no one should be manipulated by fear.
Some things are clear; that the citizens of Washington lost this battle today because those with money and power have no heart or conscience, those who ask for our vote while taking corporate money are compromised and that the rank and file of Boeing are about to seize back the heart and soul of their union. Make no mistake, this is not over! It has just begun.
We citizens, who bailed out the banks, have suffered massive foreclosures and high unemployment. People set to retire could not afford to, as their 401k pensions vanished overnight, because of irresponsible gambling with our money by Wall Street. Now we are told there is a economic recovery taking place. Unemployment is down but the wages are down too. This isn’t recovery, it is austerity. This is their plan. Corporations are like a pack of wolves, they see weakness and they attack. Their concerns are not mine or yours. And let’s add to that our politicians, who have made it clear they serve only those who fill their campaign coffers.
9 billion dollars of our tax money was handed to Boeing by our legislature even as the corporate plan to financially rape their own employees was being set in motion. But nobody asked the taxpayer if it was ok to give their money to Boeing! Where were our representatives? Where was the voice of the people? The answer is that we have no voice; we haven’t for a long, long time.
Things must change, now! We must start by removing from electoral consideration any level politician who accepts corporate campaign donations. We need laws which make it illegal for any state to court any profitable corporation seeking to relocate simply to avoid recognizing or bargaining with their workers unions. And beyond that, we must bring jobs back to America instead of just hearing politicians talk about doing that ad nauseum, without any action being taken.
To all the yes votes and no votes in this Boeing extortion election, and all people everywhere who see this ongoing assault on our democratic rights and economic gains, yet know not what to do, the answer is simply to start talking. Create change in whatever united way we can. This vote must be used as a wakeup call. It should be challenged. The tax breaks should be challenged. I believe the Rank and File must challenge the leadership. i hate having to say that and it is none of my business what you decide. But all unions need to re-evaluate what they are fighting for, what is most important and what holds more power in the union, the top leadership or the rank and file.
And for god sakes, stop repeating the lie they tell us over and over again, that there is nothing we can do. It’s not true unless you accept it as such. I only accept that this is our democracy and it will serve the people, damn it. Am I the only one upset that everything our parents and their parents fought for is being taken away without any protest? No! And I am not alone. Not by a long shot!
Change will come, if we so want it.
Forever in Solidarity,