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WSLC: Our state must maintain its aerospace advantage, capacity

SEATTLE (Oct. 1, 2020) — With Boeing’s decision to shift 787 production from Everett, Wash., to South Carolina, the following statement was released Thursday by Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, who is a former Boeing employee and previously served as Political Director for IAM District 751:

Despite Boeing’s decision to consolidate 787 production in South Carolina, Washington state remains the best and most efficient site for aerospace manufacturing. That’s not just our world-class local workforce talking, that’s according to multiple industry analysts. We know that hasn’t changed.

What has changed is that the pandemic has decimated demand for Boeing airplanes. With Boeing’s decision to consolidate 787 production amid this downturn, South Carolina always had the advantage because that is where 787-10 fuselage sections are manufactured. Those fuselages can’t be transported to Everett via the Dreamlifter, so 787-10s can only be assembled in South Carolina. That doesn’t make Boeing’s decision any less disappointing. We believe it’s a mistake for the company to take the experienced and productive workforce here — the people who have made Boeing successful — for granted.

Moving forward, our first concern is for those hard-working Boeing employees who have already been laid off in the Puget Sound region because of production slowdowns, and for those who will face layoff next year when Boeing begins shifting the 787 work. They and their families need our assistance to ensure they have every opportunity to find new family-wage jobs.

Our next concern will be to make sure Washington retains its aerospace production capacity. When demand for Boeing airplanes returns — and it will — orders for 787s are likely to exceed South Carolina’s capacity to build them. We must be ready for that work. We must also be ready to win Boeing’s future airplane programs, like the New Midsize Airplane (797?) that was put on hold at the start of this year. And we must work to bring other aerospace design and manufacturing jobs to Washington.

Washington state has always been the hub of Boeing’s success as a company. That’s because our workforce here is second to none. We must maintain that advantage.

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, is the largest union organization in Washington state, representing the interests of some 600 local union organizations — including both of the largest unions representing Boeing employees, IAM District 751 and SPEEA/IFPTE 2001 — with some 550,000 rank-and-file members across Washington state. For more information, visit

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:

Washington #1 state (by far) to build new Boeing jet, study says (June 7, 2018) — Washington state is the best location in the U.S. to design, manufacture and ensure a successful launch of Boeing’s next airplane, according to a new state-by-state study. And it wasn’t even close. The study used 41 common metrics to produce the most comprehensive, data-driven aerospace competitiveness study ever done. It was performed by respected aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group.

Washington ranked #1 (again) for aerospace manufacturing (Sept. 13, 2018) — A new analysis released by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a multinational business and tax consulting firm based in London, finds that Washington state is the best location in the world for aerospace manufacturing.


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