Gov. Chris Gregoire just sent out a statement on Boeing’s decision to leave AND you can see her LIVE on Tvw right now.
Here’s her full written release:
“This is obviously a very disappointing day for all Washingtonians, particularly the more than 73,000 Boeing workers in our state. We did all we could to demonstrate that Washington is the best place in America to build airplanes. State and local government worked hand in hand with our capable Congressional delegation, business and community leaders, educators and countless others to show our collective support for locating the second 787 assembly line here.
“Unfortunately, the active and intense discussions between Boeing and the Machinists union did not result in an agreement acceptable to both sides. My colleagues in the Congressional delegation and I worked tirelessly to urge an agreement if at all possible; ultimately the two sides could not come together.
“We must keep in mind that the first and best 787s will be build right here. We have over 80,000 aerospace jobs in Washington, all of which are in a dynamic and highly competitive industry. There will be other competitions to come – the tanker is next and we intend to win. We cannot soften our resolve to stay as good as we can possibly be, in order to be ready for future competitions.
“We may not build every single Boeing aircraft in Washington, but Washington will continue to remain the home of the best workers building the best airplanes for the next 100 years.
“I want to thank our congressional delegation, local leaders and our regional and statewide business and labor communities for all of the work they put into this effort. This spirit will serve us well in future efforts to both grow our current companies and locate new businesses in Washington.”
She stuck to that outline during her brief statement. Here’s what she added in the Q&A portion (I didn’t catch all of the questions, but tried to provide some context):
“I urged them to stay at the table, that there was a lot at stake and a lot at risk and to do everything in their power … they said that’s exactly what they were trying to do,” she said. “In the end, it’s up to the parties at the table, and the parties couldn’t reach an agreement.
“When you’re not at the table, it’s hard to second guess. It’s hard to say, One party should have done, The other party should have done … both parties were very clear: They didn’t want anyone at the table besides them… what we were really doing as forcefully as they could is to continue to urge them to be at the table,” she said.
“In the end of the day, I’m disappointed, I’m angry, I hurt for the workers and I think the company made the wrong decision,” Gregoire said.
“You can’t say how much is Boeing worth, because you have to think about the indirect (costs),” she said. “The South Carolina is projected at its height to have about three 787s per month. Washington will have about seven,” she said, making it clear that Washington will continue to be the “home of Boeing… In any given year, it’s about 35 airplanes that will be built in South Carolina. Here, it’s about 500.”
“At no time has Jim Albaugh suggested to me that this means they will be moving Boeing to South Carolina,” she said — meaning she believes Boeing will continue to keep its roots in Washington state. “We’re going to have to continue to compete to make sure we maintain our position,” she said.
“They were very clear that part of the reason as Jim Albaugh mentioned to me is the cost of doing business unrelated to the state. He specifically said it’s not about workers’ compensation, it’s not about taxes … it’s about the wage they can pay to workers,” she said.
“It’s not for me to say what the future holds. I have to say to you, we have to be competitive… if we don’t keep pace with the competition, you can rest assured that Washington will not be able to keep those lines. It’s all about competition,” she said. “It’s incumbent upon us to do what we’ve been doing.”
“I don’t have a bad relationship with labor or Boeing. I have a good relationship with Boeing, and that has become very clear to me over the last several weeks … I may disagree with their decision today — and I do disagree with the decision they made today — but it is my job to argue for every job” Boeing brings to the state.
“I know you all want me to tell you what I know about (the conditions of the contract), but I think it’s best you hear from them,” she said, of questions on whether Boeing was asking for a 10-year no-strike guarantee.
“Boeing as a company … wants to talk about worker’s compensation … and unemployment insurance … so there will always be new agenda items where we can work with them and labor,” she said, in order to make Washington a more competitive place for businesses.
Gregoire said CEO Jim Albaugh told her “despite the fact that I kept telling you that (you couldn’t do anything more), you kept doing more.”