When machinists in Seattle rejected a proposed contract extension and modification crucial to securing production of Boeing’s new 777X widebody airliner, the company didn’t lose any time starting the search for alternative sites. In fact, company executives were on the ground yesterday in other states, gauging what concessions they might win in return for bestowing 20,000 high-paying jobs on the lucky locale. Long Beach, California has a key advantage in this sweepstakes, because it is the only place outside Puget Sound where there are thousands of skilled workers with recent experience building big jets. But if the Long Beach plant is to be a credible contender, its union will have to show more flexibility than the machinists in Seattle did, and the State of California will need to provide tax breaks similar to what Washington State was offering. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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