A statement by Boeing posted on their anti-union website in South Carolina is drawing media scrutiny for suggesting that jobs in Washington state and South Carolina could be at risk if Congress doesn’t bow to a Norwegian Airlines (NAI) proposal to operate as a low-cost carrier in U.S. markets.
The tone of Boeing’s statement is ominous: “…all employees ought to be concerned,” says Bill McSherry, a Boeing Vice President, who goes on to criticize lawmakers, the IAM and other labor unions for supporting legislation to block Norwegian’s bid to undermine wages, benefits and working conditions in the U.S. transportation sector.
The facts in the NAI case are straight-forward. Spawned as a subsidiary to Norway-based Norwegian Air Shuttle, NAI was established and incorporated in Ireland in order to evade Norway’s strong labor, tax and regulatory laws and gain an upper hand on air carriers in the U.S. and Europe that play by the rules.
Specifically, NAI plans to use Bangkok-based flight crews employed through a Singaporean hiring agency in order to undercut the wages and labor standards at existing airlines while still reaping the benefits of the U.S.-European Union Air Transport Agreement.
Under the guise of “open competition,” NAI is attempting to get the nod from our government to launch rogue airline service into the U.S. that violates our trade agreement with the European Union. As the public record has made clear, NAI does not seek open competition. It seeks to tilt the competitive balance of the transatlantic market in its favor by breaking the rules and hoping to get away with it.
In its zeal to bash the IAM, Boeing conveniently forgets to inform its workers that it was the IAM which saved the Export-Import Bank, which finances Boeing’s exports. In addition to round the clock lobbying, the IAM united the labor movement to convince Democrats and Republicans that the Ex-Im Bank was not just corporate welfare for Boeing. Indeed, it was not for the intensive effort by the IAM, the Bank would have disappeared and so would have thousands of aerospace jobs in South Carolina and Puget Sound.
Click here to read the statement by Boeing and here to see the latest article in the Seattle Times that highlights Boeing’s use of the issue to suppress opposition and threaten jobs in Washington state as well as South Carolina.