Sunday, September 18, 2005

Boeing Strike

Like many, the business press is perplexed about why Boeing forced a strike:
When you … calculate the specifics, as Business Week does, the differences [between the sides] were minor. So, why the strike?: "Underlying the current standoff are the poor relations Boeing has long had with the IAM. That became clear in last-minute talks between Calhoun and Blondin just before the strike began. The two were deadlocked over yet another relatively minor issue, involving worker training. Blondin recalls asking: "I just don't understand why you always fight us." Blondin says Calhoun replied: "You just don't get it. We represent Corporate America. You represent labor. We are always going to be adversaries." Boeing says Blondin's account was taken out of context."

Business Week's conclusion: "Whatever the exact figures, the sums causing the impasse are essentially rounding errors for a company that hauls in $54 billion in annual revenues. With any savings to Boeing soon to be eaten up in the strike's first month, what's really driving Boeing remains a mystery."
I confess that it remains a mystery to me, as well. The asymmetry here is interesting. This is all relatively little money to Boeing, but it makes a difference to the workers, who aren't a multi-billion dollar company.

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