The Boeing Ripoff


Boeing and Governor Locke just finished the biggest giveaway of our tax-dollars in Washington State history. At the same time, Locke was telling us to “tighten our belts” and “prepare for cuts” because of a $2.6 billion state deficit.

Workers across the state of Washington took cuts in health care, education, jobs, and the environment. These “cost savings” were then used to fund a $3.2 billion public bribe to Boeing, which had threatened to move the new 7E7 airliner assembly plant out of Washington, setting up a bidding war between states who wanted to be the home of the new plant. This blackmail was the backdrop to the 2003 legislative agenda.

The cuts and giveaways are the brainchild of an un-elected group of big business CEOs called “The Competitiveness Council.” Their 99 “suggestions” became the outline for the state legislative agenda.

What happened to the state’s two popular education initiatives, passed by whopping majorities? How could they be simply ignored? What does this say about how decisions are made in this political system? Where was the media?

This pamphlet documents for the first time all in one place the actions of the 2003 Washington State Legislature, the relevant history, and the economic program of the CEOs. It also describes the economic alternative and the tactics for getting results that have historically worked for ordinary working people fighting corporate greed.

Who’s In Charge Anyway?

In 2001, Governor Locke convened “The Competitiveness Council.” Made up of the CEOs of Washington’s top corporations, it was chaired by Boeing’s President of Commercial Airplanes, Alan Mulally. This council came up with 99 “recommendations,” which were all implemented, some fully, others partially [1]. Big business has always dominated the legislature. But the 2003 legislature, Democratic Governor Locke, Mulally, and his CEO friends put the question of who’s in charge to bed. A small group of 34 top business leaders can and did completely dominate the legislative agenda.

They gave themselves: a $3.2 billion change in tax laws, new “environmental” laws, new government agencies and cabinet positions, cuts in almost every social program you may have needed, $131 million of cuts in education, hikes in college tuition, a $24 million new port at public expense, $4.1 billion in transportation spending of their choice, and 60 or so other “recommendations.” Dramatic changes in Washington’s laws were enacted, that go far beyond merely giving money to corporations. They will have dire long-term costs for working people, school children, and the environment.

What the State Legislature Sacrificed in 2003

First on the budget chopping block were two education ballot initiatives passed by voters in 2000. Initiative 728, to reduce class sizes, won the greatest voter approval in the history of Washington State – 72%. Initiative 732, intended to provide teachers with a cost-of-living raise, won with 63% of the vote. Early in the legislative session, though, Locke proposed to indefinitely suspend both mandates, claiming that: “we just don’t have the funding for this.”

In response, 30,000 teachers rallied in Olympia to voice their demand that these initiatives and the voters’ choices be implemented. This rally in January of 2003 was the largest in Olympia history. Governor Locke refused to speak to the teachers directly. But referring to the rallying teachers in a later news conference, Locke said: “You do so much, and you are not paid enough. I wish we could do more.”

The so-called “Education Governor” signed a 2003 budget that did not fund the initiatives and dramatically cut all levels of an education system that has been deprived of adequate funds for years. These, along with the creation of charter schools and plans to refuse diplomas to students who fail WASL exams starting in 2008 [2], are piece-by-piece attacks on the concept of universal, quality K-12 education that was fought for and won by past generations of working class people.

Here is a detailed list of what was taken from education. The 2003-2005 budget approved by the State Legislature cut $600 million from K-12 public education and reduced public higher education by $131 million. These cuts include [3]:

  • The cost-of-living adjustment for teachers (i.e. Initiative 732) was cut $359 million.
  • Funding for smaller class sizes (Initiative 728) was cut $188 million.
  • Employee pension funding was cut $61.3 million.
  • The flexible education grant program was eliminated, worth $41.4 million.
  • State funding for special education was cut $17.1 million.
  • Money for replacement of old, unsafe school buses was cut $10.7 million.
  • State colleges were given the authority to raise tuition by 7% per year for undergraduate students to make up for a $131 million cut in their budget.
  • The state’s district breakdown of legislative cuts for the 2002-2003 school year shows Seattle losing about $6 million; Spokane, about $3.7 million; Tacoma, $2.7 million; Lake Washington, $2.1 million; Kent, $1.9 million; Edmonds, $1.8 million; Bellevue, Issaquah, and Highline, about $1.6 million.

Next to be cut was the Washington State healthcare program (Basic Health) for the poor and those without health care. Admittance into the program was capped at 100,000 patients. This means that 30,000 people will now be denied health care, at a time of mass layoffs and high unemployment. This means that more patients will be forced to get health care through expensive visits to emergency rooms instead of through their local doctor. Also, the Medically Indigent program, which provided partial compensation to hospitals to care for low-income, uninsured people, was eliminated.

The legislature added premiums and co-payments for low-income children’s medical coverage, which will cost $15 and $25 per month and is estimated to result in 20,000 children being dropped from the program. Nursing home residents will be forced to pay a $6.50 daily usage fee. State workers were offered no increase in pay and will see increased insurance co-pays.

“The Day Corporate Greed Won”

Practically before the ink was dry on these cuts, Governor Locke called the Legislature back to Olympia to consider the state’s bid proposal, as part of a 22-state bidding war to see who could give the sweetest deal to Boeing in order to land the contract to build Boeing’s new 7E7 jet airliner. Boeing set a June deadline for state legislatures to submit their offers. The document containing the fine print of Washington State’s bid will not be publicly released. In less than three days, on June 11, both political parties gave Boeing the largest handout in Washington State history – an astounding $3.2 billion in tax breaks and $4.2 billion in Boeing-inspired transportation projects. The 7E7 final assembly plant (if built at all) will net only 800-1,200 new jobs.

Through arm-twisting and blackmail, Boeing convinced the state legislature and the media that Washington State is “uncompetitive,” setting in motion a bidding war between states for 800-1,200 new jobs, and identified 99 “recommended” actions for our legislature to enact to make Washington “business friendly.” In response, the legislature cut spending for public needs and devoted their time and our tax-dollars to Boeing and a few other multinational corporations. One union leader, interviewed afterward, referred to it as “the day corporate greed won.”

It’s incredible to see the details of this deal, which was the biggest tax write-off in state history. Here is only part of what was implemented by the Washington state legislators last year on Boeing’s behalf [4]:

  • A 40% reduction in the Business and Occupation tax. This is the largest single handout, and a massive cut in the primary business tax paid to the state.
  • Boeing will be exempt from sales tax on the materials it uses to build the 7E7 plant.
  • A 40% reduction in Research and Development taxes paid by businesses.
  • All property taxes on new facilities will be set off against the amount of Business and Occupation tax Boeing pays. This would exempt Boeing from paying property taxes on the new 7E7 facility.
  • $16 million in public money for a new port facility. This will allow larger sections of Boeing planes to be outsourced (made out of state or overseas by non-union, lower-paid workers).
  • A cut in the amount that Boeing pays into the state unemployment fund. This is part of Boeing’s suggested overhaul of the state unemployment system, resulting in a reduction in the maximum time workers can receive benefits from 30 to 26 weeks. Also, the amount of unemployment compensation will now be based on the average income of the most recent two quarters, instead of the two quarters in the past 12 months in which the worker received the most pay. This will hammer the state’s laid-off workers at a time when Washington state has an official unemployment rate of 6.8% – the second highest in the country. This will especially hit seasonal workers, such as migrant, agricultural, and construction workers and women, many of whom work part-time.
  • A reduction in how much Boeing pays in compensation to workers for injuries on the job. Boeing has one of the worst injury records, including damage to workers’ hearing due to excessive workplace noise, and injuries from close contact with electromagnetic fields and chemical exposure.
  • A two-year limit on many kinds of job injury claims, precluding compensation for health problems that only become apparent years down the road.
  • Elimination of injury-prevention guidelines. Ergonomics legislation (preventing musculo-skeletal injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.) was repealed, quashing years of effort by workers.
  • $4.2 billion in transportation spending (mostly for roads) paid for a new 5-cent-per-gallon gas tax, in order to reduce commuter time for Boeing workers and materials.
  • “Streamlining” the permit process for industry and the guidelines of the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This included: eliminating air and water quality considerations in the permitting process, creating unprecedented new incentives to speed up the processing of industrial permits, and relaxing rules on water use. These changes are just samples of the environmental “reform” that the legislature completed for Boeing in 2003, in order to keep environmental questions and the public’s concerns from getting in the way of obtaining industrial permits.

Doing Boeing’s Bidding

“If they’d wanted a stadium, we would have built them a stadium. I they ‘d wanted us to bulldoze Mount Rainier so their planes could take off easier, we’d have done it.”

Washington State House representative, Hans Dunshee, Democrat, Seattle Times, 1/22/2004

These handouts to Boeing were rammed through in an emergency 36-hour extended session of the Washington State Legislature. For two entire years, Democratic Party Governor Locke and the State Legislature refused to implement voter-approved initiatives to give teachers a cost-of-living raise and reduce class sizes, claiming that Washington had a $2.35 billion budget deficit. But when Boeing lobbyists came knocking on Locke’s door looking for a tax break, he had no problem squeezing $3.2 billion out of the state’s already hard-hit workers!

On April 24th, three months after the angry teachers were gone from Olympia, Governor Locke and 10 legislators, agency heads, and special assistants held a press conference announcing the results of a year’s work. The following statements are taken directly from the transcript of that press conference:

“We’re here this morning to talk about Boeing…. we have been working with Boeing for more than a year now.” “I’ve been calling meetings every week with Legislative leadership – even all night when necessary – and I’ve also held separate meetings with House transportation leaders and Senate transportation leaders.” “We’ve also been working on our business environment. We’ve made substantial progress since the Washington Competitiveness Council issued its recommendations. We’ve cut red tape and streamlined regulatory processes.”

“We’re aggressively pushing other legislation that will help Boeing and other businesses in Washington.” “I support reforms [i.e. cuts] to the Unemployment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation systems.” “Paul Isaki [Locke’s special assistant] has been working with Boeing on the decisive business issues for more than a year. And Martha Choe [Director of the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development] has pledged her agency’s complete support as well.”

These statements reflect mountains of work the Governor and legislature have done on behalf of Boeing and the Washington Competitiveness Council. All this, despite the fact that the new 7E7 plant will – if it’s built – employ a mere 800-1,200 workers, when Boeing had laid off 40,000 other workers during 2002-2003! Shortly after this deal was struck, under the guise of creating more jobs, the company turned around and announced plans to lay off more workers and export hundreds of jobs to countries with cheaper, non-union labor. The $3.2 billion that was given to Boeing could instead have funded 10,000 new jobs at a salary of $30,000/year for ten years.

The votes on the 2003 budget cuts and Boeing sell-outs show how readily the Democratic Party is willing to side with the interests of big business against those of the working class. In the Senate, where Republicans had a narrow 25-24 majority, the vote to accept the budget was 28-19, the vote for the Boeing tax cuts was 42-1, and the vote to gut the state unemployment system was 31-9. In the House, where the Democratic Party had a solid 52-46 majority and could control legislation, the vote to accept the budget was 67-30, the vote for the Boeing tax cuts was 79-10, and the vote to gut the state unemployment system was 57-33. This thoroughly bipartisan effort was then signed into law by the Democratic Party Governor, Gary Locke, who led the charge on all these issues.

Boeing’s Pampered Status

A central argument for this Boeing giveaway was big businesses’ cry that the laws in Washington State are unfriendly to business. Let’s look at the facts:

  • There is no direct state tax on corporate profits.
  • Washington is one of only five states in the U.S. with no state income tax – a great benefit for Boeing executives [5].
  • Boeing is exempt from sales tax on all airplanes delivered from Washington State. This is achieved by making the sale “overseas,”- i.e. not in Washington. A Boeing flight crew flies a new plane just past the 200-mile limit of U.S. sovereignty off the Washington coast, at which time money is transferred by wire and a new crew flies the plane back to Seattle, completing the sale [6].
  • Boeing is exempt from many of the state’s environmental regulations [7].
  • Boeing is exempt from most local taxes. Under pressure from Boeing, state politicians had previously redrawn Seattle’s city boundaries to exclude the area of Tukwila around its headquarters [8]. This exempted Boeing from making contributions to Seattle schools, libraries, and other essential services for working people.
  • The benefits Boeing enjoys through their influence on many kinds of legislation cannot be measured only in dollars. Much arm-twisting by the Department of Ecology and local planning departments, and the courts, has likewise left the publicly-funded (and hated) third SeaTac Airport runway on track despite a huge public organizing effort against it.

Despite all these generous breaks for Boeing and other large businesses, they still cry “Washington is uncompetitive.” Just four months after these giveaways, on October 8th 2003, the arrogant nature of Boeing’s blackmail was made clear when Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Alan Mulally slammed Washington as a place to do business, saying: “I think we suck.” [9] This comment drew applause from the Rotary Club of Seattle where he was speaking. This should be a clear warning to workers of Boeing’s unfinished agenda.

The fact is, Boeing is doing extremely well in Washington State. By the end of the 1990s, Boeing’s combined commercial and military operations were larger than most countries – the 78th largest economy in the world, with sales of over $50 billion. Its pre-tax profits were $3.3 billion in 1999, $3 billion in 2000, $3.6 billion in 2001, and $3.2 billion in 2002. Its sales were over $50 billion for each of those years. Shareholders received a 20% return on equity in 1999, 19% in 2000, 26% in 2001, and a whopping 30% in 2002 [10].

Competing With Whom?

Boeing’s demands for a more competitive business environment are in spite of the fact that it does not have a single competitor in the United States. Boeing gobbled up the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, the last competitor in commercial airline manufacturing in the U.S. That leaves Airbus, a French-European company, as its only real competition.

These two giant corporations compete in the world market for airplanes. Both Airbus and Boeing get direct handouts from governments. The competitiveness in the Boeing-Airbus rivalry is a product of rival capitalist markets, rather than an answer to meeting fundamental transportation needs. This “competition” is used as a whip on their respective governments to get direct handouts from the public treasury. Governments and local media are expected to assist, provide a positive spin, and look away while good jobs bleed away from Europe and the U.S.

The marginal differences in the airplanes produced by these mega-corporations do not provide much rational basis for buyers of airliners to make a choice. Rather, the choice of whether to buy one or the other often comes down to other factors: political influence, handouts, cronyism, or most often, complex economic and political tradeoffs regarding other issues having little to do with aircraft.

This illustrates the pervasive myth that capitalism creates an equal playing field between competing businesses in a “free market.” The truth is that every industry is dominated by a handful of giant multinational corporations, like Boeing and Airbus. For example, the overwhelming majority of U.S. media outlets and news sources are owned by only six corporations: AOL Time Warner, Viacom, Disney, G.E., Sony, and The News Corporation. Also, automobiles in the U.S. used to be manufactured by over one hundred different automobile companies. Now there are only the Big Three: General Motors, Ford, and Daimler-Chrysler.

Boeing – A Favorite Son

Boeing’s other source of public money is its deep engagement with the U.S. Department of Defense. Boeing’s defense-related activities are totally dependent on our tax-dollars. Its research and development costs related to new technologies for improved military aircraft and spacecraft design are fully paid for by the government. These innovations are a public gift to Boeing, which are then used in their commercial airline design and development. Because the only other domestic producer of military planes is Lockheed Martin, and because the U.S. government has a policy of having more than one producer of military hardware, Boeing’s future – like that of a favorite son – is assured.

Boeing receives handouts and a special protected status not only at the state level but at the federal level as well. In the most recent national military legislation regarding Boeing, the Air Force leased new refueling aircraft from Boeing, ultimately costing the public billions of dollars more than if they were purchased outright. Even more outrageously, the Pentagon had not even asked for these planes in its procurement list of the top 60 weapons it wanted.

This is how Senator McCain of Arizona described the deal: “I have never seen the security and financial interests of the federal government quite so nakedly subordinated to the interests of the defense manufacturer. Indeed, any objective analysis would conclude that the sole purpose served by this lease was to maximize the profits of Boeing.”[11]  He goes on to say: “This is clearly war profiteering … It is obscene.”

Washington State’s Congresspeople, led by Democrats Patty Murray and Norm Dicks talked about job creation, but talk of job creation never reveals how many other jobs could be created with the same dollars. In the end, the $318 million Appropriations bill for the lease was approved. In the Senate, there were 94 votes in favor, with Republicans McCain and Phil Gramm of Texas casting the only votes against.

Boeing is closely integrated into the production of weapons systems that are the backbone of the U.S. government’s massive arsenal of military weaponry. This immense military force has been built up by both the major political parties as part of a foreign policy objective of demonstrating overwhelming force to further U.S. business interests in the world.

Boeing is a major player in the production of Missile Defense, the Airborne Laser, Theater-Wide Missile Defense, “precision” munitions including cruise missiles and air-to-ground missiles, the F-15 Eagle, the C-17 Globemaster, the Apache Longbow helicopter, the V-22 Osprey, the RAH-66 Comanche, and the F/A 18 E-F Super Hornet [12]. The financing of these weapons is often dependent on loans and sales to foreign governments who are considered “friendly” to the foreign objectives of the U.S. government and its corporate sponsors. These government allies are often brutal dictatorships, like those in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Those who suffer from the use of these weapons are almost always working-class people in other countries. For instance, all the pumping, purification, and water distribution centers of Iraq were systematically and criminally destroyed by the U.S. government’s use of Boeing’s “smart” bombs during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. 4,500 Boeing “smart” bombs were similarly used in the war in Afghanistan [12].

Who Benefits from Boeing’s Military Sales?

There is a perverse relationship between Boeing’s outsourcing of jobs (formerly high-wage jobs being shipped to lower-wage countries with fewer unions) and the U.S. government’s military and commercial contracts with the governments of those countries. U.S. multinational corporations such as Boeing locate operations overseas because of dramatically lower wages and fewer unions, human rights, and environmental laws. The U.S. government then uses foreign aid, trade policies, loans, debt, military might and all the other powers at its disposal to bully and pressure foreign governments to support the interests of these multinational corporations at the expense of workers abroad and at home.

Inevitably, these anti-poor, anti-working-class policies provoke mass opposition and protests from the local populations. There is enormous, widespread anger at the consequences of these policies throughout the “third world.” Huge social movements and revolts have erupted in Latin America and elsewhere. In order to ram through these unpopular capitalist policies, the local U.S.-backed governments will often use their Boeing and U.S. supplied military hardware to help crush and repress opposition.

Furthermore, for any foreign government to receive aid and avoid political campaigns of destabilization from the U.S. government, it must continue to implement these policies. The 2002 U.S.-supported coup against Chavez in Venezuela is a sharp reminder of the lack of tolerance by U.S. big business for any challenge to its economic interests.

Whether the government of a country attempts to defeat protests of their own people through use of “democratic structures” or by actively attempting to crush rebellion, non-compliance with American pressure is likely to earn it labels like “Communist,” “Terrorist,” “Anti-American,” or a part of the “Axis of Evil.” It is no accident that many of the governments pushing through U.S-supported policies are dictatorships, which repress any opposition to these policies. U.S. foreign policy props up these governments, which are then given U.S.-backed loans to buy weapons produced by Boeing to repress any dissent.

The economics of weapons production provide very perverse incentives in our own corrupt political system. Boeing is selling their killing equipment to the governments of at least 100 nations. And Boeing is only one of hundreds of multinational corporations who use their power, influence, and wealth to shape foreign policy. The ugly bottom line is that the more wars that are waged, the larger the profits for Boeing.

The effects of these military programs also hit workers hard here at home. Not only is the Pentagon budget a huge drain on working people by taking up the largest portion of their taxes, it is also a huge drain on the economy. A similar amount spent instead on retooling U.S. factories and building mass public transit, free health care for all, and new schools would greatly improve the lives of the vast majority of the country and create millions of new jobs. Spending on products needed by working people would have a ripple effect on the economy, supporting and creating other products and services, rather than building weapons to rain death and destruction on workers and poor people around the world.

Currently nearly one third of all the world’s research and development scientists and engineers are working on military contracts. Rather than wasting this tremendous human talent, intelligence, and resources on devising newer and better ways to destroy people and infrastructure, scientific resources should be used instead to solve the burning problems and needs of humanity.

Democracy for Sale

Guadalupe Gamboa, regional director of the United Farm Workers of America, put it this way: “We’ve become simply a Boeing republic. Everyone from the Governor on down to the Republicans and some of the Democrats are just kowtowing to Boeing without really examining…the impact that this would have on the citizens.” [13]

Boeing, like all the major corporations, goes to extraordinary lengths to maximize its profits. Boeing has an army of lobbyists who swarm the federal, state, and local legislatures to ensure that Boeing’s interests are served. The Center for Responsive Politics lists Boeing as number 66 in its list of the 100 biggest financial donors in American politics since 1989. Boeing spent $7.8 million lobbying politicians and $1.4 million in campaign contributions in 2000 [14]. Richard Armitage (a Boeing Consultant and Deputy Secretary of State) and Karl Rove (a White House Senior Advisor who owns $250,000 in Boeing stock) can be counted on to work with Boeing’s loyal Congresspeople at the federal level – Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Representative Norm Dicks.

To ensure that their interests are followed, the economic elite have established and funded two political parties. In the last decade, Boeing has spent $7.6 million in PAC and soft money contributions. Like most other major corporations, it has been a fairly equal opportunity giver, with 58% of its $1.5 million donations in 2002 going to the Republicans and 42% going to Democrats [14].

This way, when one party gets discredited and breaks public trust by siding too obviously with big business, there is always a safe alternative big business party waiting in the wings to take over. When it comes to election time, the two political parties fight each other on a whole series of social and political issues to see which will get their hands on the major spoils of power. Once the legislative session begins, however, it is all business – in the name of “bipartisanship.” Whether it is a new stadium for the Seahawks and the Mariners, more dollars for the road construction industry, slashing healthcare programs for the poor, or helping out Washington’s favorite son, the agenda of big business gets done.

Under this system of two big business parties, the last few decades have been a period of intensified attacks on unions, workers’ benefits, working conditions, and democratic rights, cuts in funding for key social programs like education, a further shift in taxation away from the rich and corporations and onto the backs of working people, and increased police repression, racism, and sexism. This has occurred in Washington D.C. largely behind our backs, as the corporate-owned mass media has clogged the airwaves with images of crime, drugs, and sex scandals while the real corporate crimes, which affect so many of us, go under-reported. For example, the percent of federal income tax contributions paid by corporations fell from 32% in 1952 to 7% in 2003 [15]. At the same time, big business politicians raised the amount of income taxes raised through payroll taxes on workers’ wages from 10% in 1952 to 40% in 2003 [15]. Boeing actually paid no taxes in 1995, instead receiving a $33 million refund [16].

The corporate-controlled duopoly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Seattle Times and the corporate-owned ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox back up these policies with praise and approval. Their usual argument is that the legislature’s actions are the only prudent course, based on the logic of market competition. This pattern of corporate welfare and media collusion is the untold story – untold because if the public knew, they wouldn’t stand for it.

Outsourcing Jobs

Under all recent presidents, both Democratic and Republican – Carter, Reagan, Bush Senior, Clinton, and Bush Junior – the federal government has followed free trade policies to open up foreign markets to U.S. corporations. Government incentives have lubricated Boeing’s overseas operations. From just a few decades ago producing all its airplanes in the U.S., Boeing currently outsources 64% of its work.

“Outsourcing” is just the term for what globalization of capitalist markets means for jobs. Boeing and other big manufacturing corporations, which have a unionized and relatively highly-paid workforce, use outsourcing as a tactic to drive down workers’ wages and conditions. They shift parts of their production to cheaper, non-union contractors, which have lower labor costs, saving Boeing money on production and increasing its profits. Laid-off workers can get their jobs back – they just need to move to Indonesia and take a 90% cut in pay.

The proposed 7E7 deal takes this process to a new level. The Seattle Times (10/15/03) writes: “As Boeing’s plans for 7E7 components take shape, the only major part of the next generation jet likely to be built in the Puget Sound Region is the vertical fin on the tail.” This article goes on to lay out Boeing’s general approach involving outsourcing the major parts (and financing and design) to Europe, Asia, and other states in the U.S. What it doesn’t say is that those corporations will further contract to the cheapest labor available on the world market.

Steve Wilhelm, staff writer for the Puget Sound Business Journal, wrote: “Because the company [Boeing] is moving toward building the new plane from larger subassemblies made by fewer contractors, the established aerospace supply base in Washington State will be less important.” [17] There should be no mistaking the threat this poses to high-wage jobs in Washington.

“Final assembly will look vastly different from today’s,” said Mike Bair, vice president of the new 7E7 jetliner program, in a press briefing. “We will have a relatively small number of highly finished pieces to do final assembly on.” [18]  Moving toward becoming a “large scale integrator,” Boeing is following its rival Airbus. “All that happens in final assembly is joining the bits together,” said David Velupillai, regional press manager at Airbus, adding that just 4% of his company’s effort goes into final assembly. Airbus employs only about 300 people at its A330/340 line in Toulouse, France.

Peter Chapman, president of McDonnell Douglas China, put it most bluntly: “We’re in the business of making money for our shareholders. If we have to put jobs and profit in other countries, then we go ahead and do it.” [19]  Xian Aircraft Company, a major U.S. partner in China with 21,000 workers, pays its workers a mere $50 per month [20].

William Greider sums up this process in his book, One World, Ready or Not: “Boeing could survive and flourish as a company, regardless of how much the aircraft industry base was dispersed to other countries. It would exist as a “virtual corporation” on a monumental scale, with its brains still in Seattle but its workforce scattered around the globe. This could work for Boeing. It was Puget Sound and the American machinists who would have some problem.”[21]  Obviously, since this was written, Boeing has moved even its “brains” away from Seattle… to Chicago, because they offered more incentives.

This all begs the question: in whose interests does Boeing make its decisions? To whom does Boeing owe its loyalty? Is Boeing loyal to the public in the Puget Sound area? Is it loyal to its workers? Does it care where it produces its planes?

Boeing was built on the sweat and blood of its workers and the public’s tax revenue. But it was never owned by the people who built it, and funded its growth.

Boeing is only beholden to maximizing its profits. Boeing is not “loyal” to its workers or working-class communities, whether they are in Washington State, the United States, or the planet Earth. It is loyal to profit. As we often hear: a corporation is “only beholden to its shareholders.”

Boeing CEO, Phil Condit, put it this way: “Simply put, we intend to run Boeing as a business that has the flexibility to move capital and talent to the opportunities that maximize shareholder value.”[22]

It’s “cheaper,” as far as Boeing shareholders are concerned, to subcontract work to producers who can make its parts the cheapest – wherever that might be. As a result, it is in the process of disbanding as a manufacturing entity. Only its final assembly and sales portion will remain as it was.

This capitalist market logic means that the commitments one might have assumed that Boeing had toward its workers, the Puget Sound region, or Washington State are all absent. This region or country can’t be allowed to have any proprietary relationship to Boeing, as it might cut into profits by spending money to protect workers, consumers, and the environment.

Overworked and Then Laid Off

For years, Boeing has held its employees and the public in a state of fear by its chaotic and irrational methods of production. Boeing has maximized its short-term profits by making its existing employees work 50, 60, and even 70 hours per week for a few years in order to produce as many planes as fast as possible. When it finally dawns on Boeing executives that they have saturated the airline market, they reverse their policy and throw tens of thousands of workers out of their jobs. That’s because it’s cheaper for Boeing to hire fewer workers and have them work at breakneck speed and work overtime, than to hire more workers and have to pay all their benefits.

The result wreaks havoc on the lives of Boeing workers, their families, and thousands of other workers in the region who are affected by the Boeing cycles. In 1967, Boeing employed 100,874 workers, which fell to 37,200 in 1971. Then, after increasing jobs once more, employment again fell from 104,700 to 70,834 between 1991 and 1995 [23].

The alternative, which is to spread out the work and create long-term far-sighted manufacturing plans, thus guaranteeing long-term job stability, was originally implemented by Airbus. But, under pressure from competition from Boeing, Airbus scrapped such a production plan in favor of a plan similar to Boeing.

In times of economic stagnation, like now, Boeing comes cup-in-hand to the public for more massive handouts. While Boeing whines and moans that their payments into the state unemployment fund are too high, the fact is that the reason they pay high premiums is because of the tens of thousand of workers they have laid off – not because they had to, but because they chose to maximize profit at the expense of job stability.

The human cost of these backbreaking schedules and mass layoffs is incalculable. Even without layoffs, how many fathers and mothers were deprived of participating more in their kids’ lives due to Boeing’s production methods? With layoffs, tens of thousands of families have lost their savings and homes, seen their marriages crumble, or had to move out of state. A rise in alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, crime, and domestic violence has inevitably followed as the dreams of thousands of families are left in ruins.

Boeing Workers Pay the Price

Ask almost any union worker at Boeing, and you will hear a similar tale: Boeing uses any opportunity to drive down workers’ wages and working conditions.

Boeing forced the International Association of Machinists out on strike for 49 days in 1989 over its demand for concessions in benefits and its refusal to accept the Machinists’ demands for less compulsory overtime. Workers were forced to the picket lines for 69 days in 1995 to fight Boeing’s demands for concessions and to fight Boeing’s growing outsourcing of work.

The outlook of one striking worker in 1995 demonstrates the mood of many Boeing workers: “I don’t buy the company’s need for competitive edge. If that’s the reason, why did they give executives million-dollar bonuses?” Machinists Union representative Bill Johnson said that Boeing had made $6.6 billion in profit in the previous five years, and that worker productivity had increased by 30% [24].

In 2002, Machinists rejected Boeing’s offer by a vote of 62% because of its refusal to end outsourcing of work to non-union or overseas companies and thus to guarantee existing jobs. However, the members’ vote for a strike was 61%, below the 66% threshold under Machinist rules necessary to authorize a strike. These votes showed that Machinists were willing to take action against Boeing’s attacks on their jobs and living standards. However, the union’s bureaucratic rules thwarted this struggle.

Machinists were thus forced to accept Boeing’s last offer, which they had previously rejected. This contract relaxed rules allowing Boeing to escalate the outsourcing of work overseas and the laying off of Boeing workers in the region. It also forced workers to pay more for medical benefits. The Machinists Union should have held an immediate meeting to overcome the bureaucratic 66% vote rule in favor of a simple majority vote rule to allow its members to fight Boeing’s destructive policies.

In 2000, in response to Boeing’s demands, 18,000 engineers and technical workers, organized under the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), went out on strike for the first time in their history. One worker, William Hodges, sent a letter to SPEEA stating, “The new management we have seen rise to power is failing in the eyes of everyone I speak with. They have shown that they will endanger our safety by sending us out in the cold, and they will endanger the flying public by cutting corners to cut costs.” “We cannot let the greed of this new minority at Boeing destroy what has taken so many people to build.”[25]

Moreover, SPEEA charged, “Boeing has informed members of SPEEA-represented bargaining units that they would be terminated if they participate in worker stoppages.” Nonetheless, SPEEA workers shocked management by their determination and cohesion in this 40-day strike, and forced Boeing to retract many of its demands. Despite this, a concessionary contract was negotiated by the union leadership. Many engineers felt that Boeing lost the $350 billion federal contract to build the Joint Strike Fighter because the company forced them onto the picket lines [26].

The ability of workers to shut down Boeing in these struggles demonstrates the enormous power of the Boeing workforce to determine Boeing’s future. Management plays hardball, though, ¬and is determined to achieve an annual reduction in production costs and outsourcing jobs.

The Machinists’ and SPEEA’s leadership need to change course. The union leadership’s support of Washington’s bid for the 800-1,200 7E7 jobs underscores the leadership’s lack of any real plan to save Boeing jobs. Accepting the 40,000 layoffs without any response is accepting “the beginning of the end.” Boeing is out to sell the whole shop. Unless we stop Boeing now, the steady trickle and sudden deluges of job losses at Boeing will continue. Lacking any action, we’ll watch several communities slowly crumble.

Boeing unions need to reach out to the public and explain how the high-tech machinery and skilled workers at Boeing are a valuable resource that can benefit all workers in the state. The support from the leaders of Boeing’s unions – SPEEA and the Machinists – for Boeing’s $3.2 billion robbery of state assets and its dismantling of the state unemployment rules is a setback to this struggle.

Those decent jobs at Boeing do not belong solely to SPEEA and the Machinists. They belong to the whole community. These jobs represent the productive output of millions of people: their wealth, their living labor, manual and intellectual, and their taxes for at least four generations. SPEEA and the Machinists must act on behalf of past, present, and future workers everywhere, who continue to struggle for jobs that pay a liveable wage and offer health care and a retirement. To allow the negation of tens of thousands of talented people’s work, the abolishing of the same number of scarce living-wage jobs, and the dissolution of communities and factories will set the entire labor movement and all workers back. To abandon all this for nothing more than the promise of 800-1,200 jobs is totally short-sighted and is a betrayal of the interest of workers.

It hurts a wider layer of workers who should instead be recruited to help fight Boeing. It weakens our ability to mount a united struggle against the escalating attacks on jobs, wages, benefits, and programs that have been launched by big business and their two parties. Instead, the leadership of the Machinists and SPEEA need to mobilize the tens of thousands of Boeing workers to link up with workers across the region and confront Boeing to defeat this corporate agenda.

Those who argue that “the creation of a competitive environment” means demanding lower wages should start by cutting President Mulally’s salary. When American workers launch a powerful struggle for their own jobs and lives, the more radical French (Airbus) workers won’t be far behind. An international movement of labor and the community against this big business offensive is the only viable alternative to the race-to-the bottom efforts of the multinational corporations.

Boeing Trashes the Environment

Boeing has continually attempted to present itself as an environmentally-friendly company. This illusion has been perpetuated by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Seattle Times which have given up the job of investigative journalism when it concerns Boeing [27]. But dig a little below the surface, and a whole different Boeing emerges: a company that has exerted all its power and influence to water down environmental legislation, harass workers who attempt to expose Boeing’s poisoning of workers, and to bully legislators who attempt to question Boeing’s practices.

Boeing is the second largest polluter in the state. It has a history of stonewalling and fighting regulators over environmental violations, fines, and other sanctions. According to governmental records, it has denied responsibility for the contamination of the Duwamish river, despite discovery of waste discharged from Boeing facilities near the river [28]. It has denied the presence of Trichloroethylene in drinking water wells at Moses Lake, despite the fact that it dumped such chemicals into the bare ground near the lake [28]. And it has denied responsibility for the contamination of the shut-down Midway landfill in Kent, despite the fact that Boeing dumps tons of spray-paint sludge from its Auburn plant at the landfill. 28

Whenever the company has been found guilty of environmental transgressions, it has then used its high-powered lawyers to threaten continual lawsuits in order to reduce fines and avoid any “official admission of guilt” to stain its record. Government officials, aware of Boeing’s deep pockets, have yielded to this power play. The best example of this strong-arm tactic was the reduction of an EPA fine of $620,475 to a still record-setting $334,325 and the dropping of any admission of guilt over mishandling toxic waste at Boeing’s Everett plant. 28

Just as outrageous has been its refusal to accept responsibility for illnesses caused by the chemicals in its plants. Boeing employs scientists to question or deny physical maladies and to even deny the existence of diseases like Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, which causes a breakdown of the immune system from continual inhalation or contact with certain chemicals Boeing uses. Boeing has used its influence in the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) to deny the existence of any such aliment [29]. One estimate of Boeing’s potential liability in these claims is $450 million [29].

Boeing has used its heavy lobbying influence in Washington D.C. to make Washington State a more dangerous place to live. Boeing lobbyists, sitting behind legislators’ own desks and using their offices, helped push through legislation that gutted the pollution-fighting Puget Sound Water Authority in 1990. 30 This caused the state agency’s chair Kathy Fletcher to resign in disgust and form a new organization called People for Puget Sound. In 1991, Boeing lobbyists succeeded in pressuring lawmakers in Olympia to soften an already weakened Clean Air Washington Act. 30 In 1993, Boeing officials argued that they might move their plants elsewhere unless state environmental laws, such as the State Environmental Policy Act and Growth Management Act, were relaxed [30].

Boeing’s Corporate Crime

It gets worse! Far from sticking to “legal’ forms of appropriating money from the public purse, such as handouts and military contracts, Boeing has employed Enron-like accounting and has broken the law many times in its insatiable drive for increased profits at all cost.

In 1994, Boeing paid $75 million to the federal government to avoid criminal prosecution of overcharges on the KC-125 tanker. Boeing has been caught charging the U.S. government $2,548 for a pair of duckbill pliers, and $1,118 for a plastic cup that fits on the end of the leg of a stool [31].

In July 2003, Boeing was suspended from three defense contracts worth $1 billion because of illegal activity. Boeing had illegally obtained an extraordinary 25,000 pages of rival Lockheed Martin’s proprietary documents during the 1998 race to land a $2 billion rocket-launch contract, which Boeing subsequently lost to Lockheed Martin [32].

Air Force Undersecretary Peter Teets said: “Boeing has committed serious and substantial violations of federal law.”[32]  He said he had never seen a case involving procurement violations of such magnitude. Because of the federal penalties, Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute said, “This is a severe blow to Boeing’s hopes of becoming the nation’s leading space company.”

Business Week did a three-month investigation of Boeing’s questionable accounting practices during the lead-up to its 1997 merger and takeover of rival McDonnell Douglas. Business Week found that Boeing artificially inflated its earnings for two quarters in 1997 by $2.6 billion dollars, thus hiding the fact that production costs were running substantially higher than was disclosed to investors [33]. Business Week wrote: “Boeing did more than simply fail to tell investors about its production disaster. It also engaged in a wider variety of aggressive accounting techniques that papered over the mess.” 33 In a deal approved by a U.S. District Judge, Boeing settled a private securities-fraud suit over the 1997 episode for $92.5 million, rather than let it go to court.

General Counsel Douglas Bain stated that Boeing settled because it did not want to risk having its dubious accounting practices be exposed to the public. Bain had told Business Week: “because the case would have been tried in Seattle, which felt stung after Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago on September 1, 2001, company lawyers feared a vindictive jury.”[33]

In another example, in 1987, Kevin Kelly, an electrician, found that Boeing was double-billing the government for rework done to fix problems with the B-2 stealth bomber and F-22 Advanced Tactical Fighter programs [34]. When he brought this to the attention of his supervisors, they told him to mind his own business. Frustrated, he became a whistle-blower and contacted the government. Between April 1988 and July 1989, he presented the government with documents showing $18 million in abuse. Boeing’s response was to immediately fire him and go to court.

The evidence was confirmed by a government audit. Still, Boeing took it to a federal judge, causing the Justice Department to opt out of the case and leaving Kelly to fight on his own and win the case within the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Boeing took their case to the Supreme Court, and got 10 other defense contractors to back it. The Supreme Court denied Boeing’s request in February 1994, by which time Kelly was 70 years old.

The Case for Public Ownership of Boeing

Boeing has an enormous impact on the fate of workers in the Puget Sound region. It still accounts for 18% of the region’s economy. 20,000 Boeing layoffs in Washington State are resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of other jobs – estimated from 40,000 to 80,000. According to the Washington State Office of Financial Management, job losses of that magnitude will also result in a loss of revenue to Washington State of between $500 million and $1 billion [35].

How can we prevent further layoffs and instability in the region? With the government willing to make gifts to Boeing of our hard-earned dollars and to attack workers and taxpayers, where do we turn? How can we prevent our region from hemorrhaging jobs and falling into a deeper crisis?

Decisions at Boeing are currently made by a small group of very rich executives, most of whom are tied to the big banks and other big corporations. They are answerable only to major shareholders, who own over 60% of Boeing’s shares. Each year between 1999 and 2002, Boeing made over $3 billion a year in profits and paid its shareholders between a 19% and 30% return on their capital. At the same time they laid off 40,000 workers. Scandalously, they were rewarded by our legislators with a public gift of over $3 billion. The vast majority of residents of Washington State, the working class, have few ways to influence Boeing’s actions and our future, especially since the government insists on doing Boeing’s bidding. But we have more invested collectively than anyone else. We as workers built Boeing, and we as taxpayers paid for its development.

Boeing is making huge profits off subsidies from our tax dollars. If we fund Boeing, we should control it, too. By taking the aerospace juggernaut into public ownership under democratic workers’ control, Boeing’s profits and technology could be used for the benefit of all, rather than boosting the profits of its rich owners.

After the state legislature offered $3.2 billion in tax breaks for Boeing, even a mainstream columnist from the liberal Seattle Weekly demanded that Boeing be taken into public hands: “We could push to nationalize them. Boeing lives off the public dole anyway. We could either be done with their blackmail – which will only get worse – or take the controls of this flying porker ourselves.”[36]

Public ownership is the only policy that has proven successful in controlling the activities of major corporations and industries. At the end of the 19th century in the United States, we saw many utilities – such as electricity, gas, public transportation, and education – taken out of the hands of profiteers and put into public ownership. We can do it again.

Public ownership of Boeing would achieve two things. First, it would end the anarchistic situation in which Boeing’s decisions are made based on maximizing short-term profit for their rich owners, with no regard for anything else. We already know that it is not in our interests for Boeing to lay off tens of thousand of workers in the Puget Sound area, to force their employees to work 50, 60, and even 70 hours a week, to outsource production to low-wage regions of the U.S. or overseas, to wreck our unemployment system, and to rob money from the State by cutting needed services. Neither is it in our interests for the CEO of Boeing to have made $1.5 million last year. Public ownership can end all this.

Second, public ownership is the only way to gain public control over Boeing’s vast resources. By taking power away from the rich shareholders and placing it in the hands of workers and communities, we can shape the way Boeing operates. The board of directors should be composed of elected members of the community and the workforce. Decisions should be transparent, and the community should be allowed to vote democratically on any major changes of direction that might affect the community. Boeing has great economic and political power, and this power can be either constructive or destructive. Private ownership of such power can hardly be expected to work well.

Boeing has a treasure trove of skilled mechanics and engineers who could provide essential products to meet society’s real needs. Under public ownership, a priority would be placed on maintaining its skilled workforce, on building safe planes, and in re-employing laid-off workers to provide other products needed by the community. It should also be a high priority to ensure that Boeing’s actions do not negatively impact the environment.

Under public ownership Boeing could be re-tooled. Production could be directed away from military contracts and instead toward providing useful products and services for public need, such as helping to construct a mass public transit system for the Seattle-Tacoma area which could end the traffic crisis, improve the quality of life, and reduce pollution. This would create a huge number of new jobs. The workweek should be reduced to 30 hours with no loss in pay or benefits, in order to create new jobs at a time of very high unemployment in Washington State. This could easily be paid for by the revenue Boeing generates, and by utilizing the millions of dollars that currently go into the pockets of the executives and big shareholders.

The actions of a publicly-owned Boeing would serve the needs of the community and the general working class. It would treat its workers fairly and end discrimination based on sex, race, ethnicity, immigration status, sexual orientation, age, or belief. The profits from its operations would be used to provide a better life for its workers and workers across the state.

There are plenty of precedents for such action. Workers around the world have pressured their governments to take corporations and industries into public ownership. With the profit-making aspect taken out of their decision-making, these industries have been finally able to serve the interest of the public.

Lucas Aerospace in Britain gives a glimpse of what could be achieved. In the mid 1970’s, Lucas Aerospace was a major designer and manufacturer of aircraft systems and equipment for the aerospace industry and the military. Faced with demands for the layoff of 20% of its workforce, the shop stewards committee (the elected shop-floor representatives of workers across all 13 unions in the 18,000-person company) drew up an alternative production plan.

Over a two-year period, based on detailed information on the machinery and equipment that the workers had, the alternative production plan would have preserved jobs and also provided useful machinery for the community. These included high-technology products such as kidney machines, improved life-support systems for ambulances, solar cells and fuel cells, a road-rail public transportation vehicle, and a hybrid internal combustion engine/battery-powered car that would provide up to 50% fuel savings and reduce toxic emissions.

Management dismissed these proposals. Nonetheless, the possibility of how Boeing could be run to benefit communities is shown in this plan. The skilled workforce at Boeing is quite capable of drawing up a similar type of plan based on the equipment at Boeing, the skills of the workers, and the needs of the community. Rather than being a major arms manufacturer, dealing in death and destruction, Boeing could become a major player in improving life for people in the Puget Sound region, including protecting good, high-quality jobs and providing a more humane work schedule and job security.

For all these reasons, we need to rescind the bailouts and handouts to Boeing and to instead demand public ownership of Boeing. This demand is the only way to prevent further job losses and further losses to our community. By raising this demand, we will provide hope to hundreds of thousands of workers who are desperate to find work or who fear joining the ranks of the unemployed. The example of public ownership of Boeing would also give inspiration to workers across the country to take control of their own jobs in other industries.

Boeing — An Example of a Failing Capitalist System

The situation at Boeing cannot be fully understood in isolation. Similar policies and decisions are being made in corporate boardrooms across the country and around the world – with similar dire consequences for workers. The three-decade-long erosion of workers’ living standards, slashing of social programs, and ballooning state deficits are not an accident. They are a direct response by big business and the rich to a slowing down of the world capitalist economy after the huge upturn of the capitalist economy from 1945 to 1973.

In 1978, CEOs of the biggest corporations formed the Business Roundtable to formulate a new set of policies that would ensure that the slowing world economy did not diminish its profits. Business Roundtables were then set up at the state level, including here in Washington State [37].

Business Week in 1974 clearly spelled out the process: “It will be a hard pill for many Americans to swallow – the idea of doing with less so that big business can have more… Nothing that this nation, or any other nation, has done in modern economic history compares with the selling job that must be done to make people accept this reality.”[38]

These policies, now known as “neo-liberalism,” are designed to return the country to a situation similar to that which existed in the 19th century, when there were few restrictions on the operations of capitalist enterprises – resulting in smog, high job-injury rates, and child labor. Most workers and their families went without decent health care, pensions, and secondary education because they could not afford to buy them.

The Washington Competitiveness Council promotes these neo-liberal policies by setting its aim dead-center at cutting “costs” by reducing the share of wealth enjoyed by the working class – workers, their families, young people, the elderly – in the U.S. and internationally. Neo-liberal policies mean: cutting wages, enforcing longer work hours, shifting taxes from big corporations and their owners to workers, privatization of publicly-owned industries, weakening unions, building up the U.S. military to defend its overseas operations, cutting “unnecessary” social benefits like education and health care, etc. Taken as a whole, these policies represent a massive attack on all workers. Most Americans are already feeling the effects and a growing uncertainty.

Tax Cuts for Business Don’t Create Jobs

A central argument of big business, the mass media, and their two parties is that the solution to the state budget deficit and the economic crisis is more tax cuts and handouts for big business. This was the message that swept away all obstacles in the State Legislature to the Boeing handout. This is being repeated in state after state as a reason to slash programs, lay off workers, and relax environmental laws. Is it true?

The Legislature in Washington State passed 445 corporate tax breaks during the last 20 years [39].  Even before the Boeing giveaway, these 445 corporate tax breaks have cost the state over $2 billion a year [40], and have cost the state over $12 billion [41].

According to neo-liberal theory, one would think that the Washington State economy would be thriving under such a business-friendly policy. Unfortunately, the “tax cuts for the rich and business will create jobs” theory does not work. Two separate studies by the Department of Revenue showed that business tax cuts have little to do with businesses creating new jobs [42].  Instead, tax breaks are simply a redistribution of assets from the working class to the capitalist class.

For the tax cut theory to work, business must see a profitable reason to invest in new productive jobs. The problem is that the economy is currently in a period of structural stagnation because existing markets are glutted with too many goods than can be sold for a profit on the market.

There is a cutthroat struggle going on between corporations, to see who will keep their share of a shrinking market. But each new wave of layoffs and cutbacks reduces the income of workers, who are also consumers. Since consumers make up 70% of the market in the U.S., then cuts in wages and job losses have a direct result in further depressing the economy.

In other words, businesses see few, if any, profitable avenues to justify building new productive capacity and creating new jobs. Instead, corporations are putting all their efforts into a struggle to see which corporation can become the leaner and meaner by cutting workers’ benefits, speeding up production, and outsourcing. It also means demanding corporate tax cuts, government handouts, cuts in social programs, relaxation of environmental laws, and increasingly shifting investment overseas.

The corporate giants are rolling across our earth in a hopeless battle with each other for the last spoils. It’s a battle to see who will fall, and to see which workers in which state will suffer. Giving more handouts comes at a huge cost for working people, and just gives encouragement to corporations to come back for more next time. Either way, these policies are not going to guarantee jobs in the long term. They certainly won’t lead to any substantial increase in productive capacity to reverse the decline in productive jobs in America. The day after Boeing received news of its public $3.2 billion handout, it shipped over one hundred jobs off to Chile. So what’s good for Boeing is… good for Boeing.

What point is served having a legislature at all if our public services are secondary to the exploitative and criminal Boeing bosses? If workers and the people of Washington had any real democratic say over how our state was run, then education, health care, job stability, the environment, etc., would naturally be paramount.

How to Fight Back

Residents of the state of Washington now face an extended struggle to keep their heads above water in a situation of economic stagnation, cutbacks in social programs, and layoffs. The only way for working people to defend their jobs, living standards, civil rights, and the environment is to organize a powerful political movement to defeat this agenda.

We need to develop a program that can defend existing jobs and provide jobs for the unemployed. We need to reverse the cuts in social programs. We need to campaign for a living wage of $12.50 per hour for all workers, a 30-hour workweek without loss in pay to share out the work and provide jobs for all, guaranteed free public health care for all, free child care for all, free and safe public transportation, and a plan of environmentally-conscious public works to build decent houses, schools, and medical facilities for all. Such a campaign would gain even wider support if it called for an end to discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.

These programs could easily be paid for out of the profits of Boeing and big business. $3.2 billion could be raised simply by canceling the tax breaks to Boeing. Billions more could be raised by restoring the taxes on the rich and big business that have been slashed over the past 20 years. This is to say nothing about the $3 billion in profits that Boeing makes each year, which could go to fund social programs if Boeing were under public ownership. And if that is not enough, what about the $87 billion a year the U.S. government is spending to occupy Iraq, on top of the $400 billion per year military budget?

Such a campaign would win immediate support from a large section of the public. Large numbers of people have shown their opposition to our corporate-dominated society. The movement against the WTO mobilized 50,000 workers and young people onto the streets of Seattle in 1999, the Ralph Nader for President campaign in 2000 organized mass rallies around the country and won almost 3 million votes, the massive movement against the war in Iraq mobilized millions across the country, and 30,000 teachers came out to defend the voter-approved ballot initiatives to give teachers a cost-of-living raise and to reduce class sizes in 2002.

This same growing movement against corporate globalization has taken root everywhere around the globe. Politicians from various countries cannot hold a conference to work out trade agreements (maximizing corporate profits at the expense of workers and the environment) without being surrounded by literally tens of thousands of protesters.

SPEEA- and Machinist-unionized workers at Boeing have a particularly important role to play. They have demonstrated their power to bring Boeing to a grinding halt through strikes. They now need to step up to force a change in their union leadership’s political strategy. Backing Boeing’s every twist and turn to rob the public purse, as the union leaders did during the special “Boeing” legislative session, is a dead end.

Rank-and-file union members of SPEEA and the Machinists Union need to mount an immediate campaign to commit its leadership to break from this present flawed strategy of accepting Boeing layoffs. These jobs shouldn’t be thrown away. Laid-off workers should be rehired, and Boeing should retool its plants so that the skills of these workers can be employed to make products useful to our communities. Such a campaign should be backed with the threat of industrial action and the demand for public ownership of Boeing as a guarantee that it will serve the interests of working people.

Democrats and Republicans — Two Parties of Big Business

We cannot expect any support from the Republican and Democratic parties that control politics in the state. They have shown that they are both committed to defending big business’s agenda. This collusion is not lost on the public. This lack of choice is the primary reason why over half the public does not bother to vote. For generations, workers have seen little if any benefit, and much to be angry at, from whichever political party has been in power.

The stability of this political system is based on being able to deliver favors and crumbs to the upper middle class and some well-paid workers. This is how the ruling elite has maintained a political basis of support among a layer of the public. But now, under the hammer blows of the last 30 years of attacks, the earnings of the middle class have declined. This buffer between the anger of workers shut out by the system and the ruling class is dwindling. This frustration is leading more and more people to begin to search for a political alternative to the two parties of big business.

Already, a section of the labor movement here and nationally voted in favor of independent political action by backing the movement for a Labor Party in the middle of the 1990’s. Unfortunately, the Labor Party leaders decided not to run candidates, a mistaken strategy that severely undermined the Labor Party. In the process, however, it won support from 8% of unions in the country and developed demands that would offer workers a program to rally around. Unions need to pick up where the Labor Party left off. Rank-and-file members of unions and other organizations need to insist that their leadership break from supporting the two existing parties.

Democratic Party — Not Our Friend

The leadership of the trade unions needs to break from the present policy of tail-ending the Democratic Party and, at times, even Republicans. Such actions politically disarm workers by deceiving them into believing that these politicians can be trusted. That leads to disappointment and apathy, particularly as the Democrats sell out the working class annually.

The Democratic Party has the distinction of being the graveyard of all progressive social movements. They were the party of “Jim Crow” in the South in the 1950’s, but were forced by a massive movement to approve civil rights in the 1960’s. Since then, they have implemented policies that have worsened the social and economic conditions facing African Americans and Latinos. The Democrats are only more sweet-speaking Republicans. They will shake your hand and tell you they are your friend, but then rob you blind when your back is turned. The Republicans, of course, will tell you bluntly that taking from the poor and giving to the rich helps everybody.

The Democrats didn’t “invent” the New Deal of the 1930’s. Militant struggles by workers, including sit-down strikes in auto and other industries, and partial general strikes in Minneapolis, Toledo, and San Francisco in 1934 were decisive in forcing change from the political system. These mass movements forced Roosevelt to then “give” concessions to working people. The New Deal programs and the unions have been under bipartisan assault ever since, despite Democrats claiming that they won us these reforms when they come looking for our votes.

Building an Independent Workers’ Party

To build a powerful movement to challenge Boeing and the big business agenda, we need to expose the sell-outs of the Democratic and Republican parties and where their real interests lie. To do this, we need to build a new independent workers’ political party. Such a party would clearly put forward the interests of workers, and it would have no ties to big business or corporate money. It could bring together the labor movement, the environmental movement, civil rights organizations, the fledgling green parties, the anti-war movement, student organizations, and socialist organizations. These organizations, especially the unions, with their large membership and their ability to shut down entire corporations, could provide enough resources and activists to successfully challenge the two capitalist parties and the media.

A workers’ party would provide a long-overdue political alternative, so that we would no longer be forced to choose candidates from the “lesser of two evils” presented by the two major parties. By organizing mass rallies, mass educational campaigns, and strikes, sending speakers out to all our communities, and launching a media barrage, it could expose how public policy has been hijacked to protect the narrow interests of a tiny minority.

Many union and community leaders undoubtedly feel that they would be weaker by breaking from both parties. They feel that this would mean they have no powerful “friends.” In fact, they would be far stronger, since they would then be able to speak honestly to the tens of millions of workers who don’t trust either party and are looking for a real alternative. These workers have the true power in society. By building a powerful movement to challenge the program cutters and job slashers of both parties, labor and community organizations would be able to bring into their movement tens of millions of workers who are marginalized by the political system.

In countries like Italy and France, the working class parties have done just that, building powerful movements and forcing their government to grant far more widespread reforms than workers have achieved here in the U.S. That’s because here, in the U.S., big business always has an alternative political party to offer up when one party gets discredited. If we had a workers’ party, then each sell-out by big business would only bring closer the day when a workers’ party takes power in the U.S. This would force big business to grant far more concessions than supporting the “lesser of two evils” ever will.

The goal of a workers’ party would be to organize the working class to challenge big business for political power in the U.S. Such a challenge would completely change the political landscape. Millions who do not bother to vote would be drawn into political activity. This developing new workers’ party would give a huge impetus to union organizing. It would help organize support for workers and young people in their day-to-day struggles. It would put the bosses and the two political parties into retreat. By electing working people into office (pledging to live on an average worker’s wage) the injustices of the system, including the favors and political corruption, would be exposed. Building a new workers’ party is the key to building a movement to confront Boeing and the other 500 huge corporations who dominate our political system.

Fighting the System

The demand for public ownership of Boeing is a key demand to give direction to our movement, but it is not enough. This is because the underlying problems of our society are caused by a failing capitalist system. A publicly-owned Boeing could not survive for long alone in a hostile sea of cutthroat capitalist competition.

The U.S. economy is staggering under a massive overhead of debt and excess capacity and over-production. It is in a period of structural crisis endemic to capitalism itself. In a desperate drive to protect their profits, corporations are blindly following destructive policies. They do not have a way to overcome the limitations of a market-based economy, and cannot offer working people anywhere on earth decent health care, more jobs, pensions, etc. Policies such as outsourcing are pitting workers against each other on a global scale.

With this global capitalist crisis, layoffs and cuts in benefits and wages are now the norm. Capitalism cannot provide a future for the peoples of the world, and this means that workers and their families will be forced to challenge capitalism itself if they want to be able halt the present attack on their lives.

The largest 500 corporations dominate 80% of the economy and control the two political parties. Control of economic power through these corporations, and subsequent control of political institutions, rests with a tiny group of powerful shareholders (much less than 1% of the population) who constitute a ruling class of the country. This ruling class controls the media, the federal and state governments, and the police and military apparatus. But they are numerically tiny.

The Power of the U.S. Working Class

The working class, i.e. those who primarily work for a living and receive a wage, are the vast majority in the U.S. Working class struggles have won us all the social and political gains we enjoy today, including the right to vote, the right to organize into a union, free primary and secondary education for all, healthcare benefits for most workers, pensions for many workers, the minimum wage, the eight-hour day, etc.

That potential power is greater today than ever. Whenever times have gotten hard, workers have found a way to move into struggle, transforming their unions into fighting organizations or creating new organizations as necessary. Already, there have been large demonstrations against budget cutbacks. Anger is palpable at corporate layoffs, corporate abuse of power, and the failed policies of the corporate politicians.

A local example of what the working class can achieve when it flexes its muscles occurred in 1919, when workers in Seattle organized a general strike that shut down the city. Arising out of local union structures, workers organized committees and volunteers to provide for the needs of workers. They coordinated a huge system of public kitchens to feed workers and their families. They organized a regional milk distribution system and they policed the area. Crime rates fell to almost zero. Nothing moved without the permission of the workers’ organizations.

Today, such movements would be even more powerful, considering the massive growth of the working class numerically and as a proportion of society. It is just a question of workers being conscious of their power and getting organized to exercise it.

In order to challenge the ruling class and remove them from power, workers and young people must build a powerful movement. Such a movement can be built through mass rallies, election campaigns with working class issues, strikes, and plant occupations. Civil rights, the eight-hour day etc., were won primarily on the street, in mass struggle which threatened the ruling class and their system – not simply because they were “better ideas” and not from winning the hearts and minds of the rulers. The Montgomery bus boycott and the boycotts of downtown stores in the South in the 1950’s and 1960’s were a show of power, the combined economic power of the majority.

It is for this reason that the capitalist class continually seeks to limit this power. In an attempt to prevent workers from linking individual strikes into a wider movement, and in an attempt to isolate workers struggles from each other, they have banned “sympathy strikes” – one union striking in solidarity with another union. When only small numbers can strike, only small demands (nearly always only contract-related) can be put forward.

However, as the sit-down strikes in the 1930’s made the anti-union laws of the 1920’s irrelevant, so when workers move into serious struggle once again, these laws will also be swept aside. Working class movements develop with enormous energy and power once they begin. When people feel their own power, it has a galvanizing effect that can quickly transform the political situation.

America’s Wealth Created by Our Labor

Every teacher, plumber, computer programmer, or Boeing worker is part of the process of creating wealth in our society. Anything that is built, grown, or trucked, anyone that is taught, in short everything that is productive, is accomplished through labor. Every aspect of human society is continuously produced by workers. Teaching the young, putting out fires, all of it – we do it all, except make the decisions.

The central issues is control of the fruits of our labor. Our labor, as workers, creates the wealth in society. But we don’t control the wealth created by our labor. The labor of Boeing workers goes into hundreds of airplanes per year. But the profit on the sale of these planes hasn’t gone back to those workers. It goes to the shareholders.

Profit, in capitalism, is the difference between what Boeing pays in wages and the real value of what Boeing workers produce. If you took home all the wealth you created, they wouldn’t hire you – they couldn’t make a profit. The bosses couldn’t live without having you work. But, they are paying you far less than the value of what you produce. Company executives and shareholders get the rest of this value – you only get your wages.

That’s why the wealth of Boeing, its planes, its factories, its equipment, is all ours. We made it. It’s a product of our labor. The owners of Boeing didn’t contribute a cent, except for the money they made off of other workers’ labor. That’s why we have the moral right to say to the rich owners of Boeing: “Enough is enough! It’s our wealth that you control. You have proved incapable of using it in the interests of the community. We demand the control of that wealth before you squander it all and there’s nothing left.”

On a personal level, loss of control over the products of your labor is why you can’t afford what you need to live. That’s where the rubber meets the road in capitalism. The whole economic system is based on legal theft of a part of your wages.

In the 1890’s, a laborer worked 12-hour days, 6 or 7 days per week. The heroic struggles of generations of workers, our grandparents and great-grandparents, built unions which were then able to win higher wages and decent working hours and benefits out of the profits of the bosses. The bosses tried to defend their profits from unionization by unleashing police, private goons, and the National Guard on strikers. The capitalists, being a tiny minority, will resort to force to increase their share of our labor.

The quest for a decent living will always be a struggle for working people under the capitalist system. Boeing wants the difference between your wages and Xian Aircraft’s (Chinese) workers’ wages to give to its CEOs and stockholders. They are willing to cut every social service to increase their profits. Education, health care, and pensions are being converted to profit by Governor Locke in Washington State.

The Alternative to Capitalism — Workers’ Democracy and Socialism

The system – capitalism – that has taken U.S. society forward for the last 200 years or so is failing. Here at home and on a global scale, it is creating increased unemployment, lower wages, and increased poverty. Uncontrolled pollution is destroying the planet.

The actions of big business to attack our living standards forces us, as workers, to form unions, build solidarity in our struggles, and create a class movement. The refusal of big business to accept our right to control the wealth created by our labor forces workers into a political struggle.

The idea of socialism, which means workers running society and controlling the fruits of their labor, has emerged time and again as a by-product of the struggles of workers and the oppressed. Large sections of the labor movement around the world have declared it to be their goal. Building a mass workers’ party to take political power, establishing a workers’ government, and carrying out a socialist transformation of society has been seen as the only practical way to fundamentally change our condition and put an end to exploitation and oppression.

For example, during the Seattle General Strike of 1919, the union newspaper Seattle Union Record wrote: “We see but one way out. In place of two classes, competing for the fruits of industry, there must be, eventually, ONLY ONE CLASS sharing fairly the good things of the world. And this can only be done by THE WORKERS LEARNING TO MANAGE.”[43] [Emphasis in original]

The struggle now facing U.S. workers is to build a movement powerful enough to not only drive back these attacks of big business, but to take control of our society. In the 18th century, it was the settlers in the new country against the old colonial power of the British. This time, it’s the working class against the super-rich owners of industry, banks, and other big corporations.

Only by the working class taking over state power, creating a new workers’ government, and administering society in the interests of the working class, through democratic representation and elections at all levels of society, can society be emancipated from the power of these huge corporations, their parasitical drive for profit, and their corrupt government.

A central policy of such a new workers’ government has to be that the giant corporations that dominate the U.S. economy – the “Fortune 500” which control approximately 80% of the economy – be taken into public ownership. Only in this way can the economy be democratically planned and organized through democratically elected representatives in our workplaces, communities, and nationally, to provide for all our interests. Workers’ governments, linked together on a global level, can build a new global economy that will make the interests of workers its guiding principle.

A workers’ government would be able to administer the key resources of society, to enact public works programs, and to provide everyone with a living-wage job. By eliminating all the waste caused by capitalism on a global scale – $1 trillion annually wasted in advertising and marketing [44], $1 trillion in arms expenditure, and the unconscionable loss of wealth as a result of the millions of workers having no job – there could be a huge increase in wealth to provide everyone with affordable housing, high quality health care, child care, other essential services, pensions, and a good quality of life for all. It would lay the basis for transforming the lives of all the people on the planet.

A new workers’ government would end the situation of a scarcity of resources, making it finally possible to overcome racism, sexism and homophobia, since there would be no ruling class looking to “divide and conquer” the working class by constantly defining who is better than whom and whom to deny resources to. Scientists would be freed to work on ending the massive destruction of the planet, and developing renewable and sustainable sources of energy. Genuine solidarity and a sharing of technology between workers and workers’ governments on a global scale would not only be desirable, but would be the most practical way of solving our problems.

The escalating global environmental crisis, caused by capitalism, is threatening life, as we know it on this planet. Our environment can only be restored and protected in a new, worker-run, classless society. The elite live in places with the trees and streams largely intact. What happens to South Seattle or the Duwamish is less important to them than their profits. In contrast, workers live virtually everywhere. Every creek is important to someone. Working people have no interest in seeing any woods or streams polluted and will prevent a democratic workers’ government from making any environmental sacrifices, instead aggressively seeking alternatives to pollution and over-utilization.

Under capitalism, the drive for ever greater short-term profit overrides the need for long-term viability and the ability of nature to sustain such development. It also leads to unacceptable biological and chemical hazards for workers, and the pollution of our communities, air, rivers, and oceans. By removing the short-term profit-motive that stems from the competition of a market economy, workers’ democracy and democratic socialism would make every effort to ensure that economic development would be environmentally sustainable.

Through socialism, fishermen, daycare providers, factory workers – everyone – plays a part in shared decision-making. How we feed and house everyone well and sustainability become the interest of everyone. The natural productivity of salmon runs, forests, clean air and a pollution-free workplace will only be a priority in a truly democratic world where private profit is not the priority.

Democracy and Socialism

Many people may be concerned that a new socialist society would mean creating a totalitarian regime, such as that of the Soviet Union or China. The “top-down” model of decision-making represented by Stalin’s rule in Russia has no place in a genuine democratic socialist society. The oppressive regime in the Soviet Union was created by the bureaucratic backlash of a small elite against the attempt at a workers’ revolution in a poor country, where the working class was a tiny minority and the productive capacity did not exist to provide everyone with basic needs. The resulting dictatorial regime had nothing to do with socialism.

U.S. workers, who make up 90% of the U.S. population, have a strong tradition of democracy. A workers’ society in the United States would build upon this existing democratic tradition. It would emerge out of a struggle to build fighting, democratic unions to fight for the interests of workers. In fact, socialism would lead to a huge expansion of democracy, with democracy being extended into decision-making in the workplace and in all institutions of society. With a much shorter workweek, workers would have the time and energy to be involved in the day-to-day running of society, unlike under capitalism.

In a democratic socialist society, all layers of government – from the smallest economic unit and local district, to large institutions and the national government – would be elected and accountable to the public to avoid corruption and the development of a new ruling bureaucracy. Day-to-day decisions would be made on the shop floor or the local level. Administrators (no longer bosses!) would be elected by the workers in every establishment, and would be subject to instant recall. No “official” would earn more than the average worker. All political parties and union formations would be welcome, except those that attack democratic structures.

A New Vision for America

In the coming period, with the economy mired in a period of stagnation, with increasing budget cuts, wage cuts, and layoffs, and with the planet heading toward ecological catastrophe, workers and young people will have no alternative but to move into struggle. If that struggle is to be successful, it will need a vision of where it is going. We believe that the goal of a workers’ government with socialist policies is completely within the traditions of social movements in America.

If socialists were given the same media air time as the spokespersons for capitalism, then we would have no trouble convincing the majority that our system is superior. That’s why the corporate-owned media has never allowed socialists to present our ideas in any detailed and coherent way. As in the past, the ideas of socialism will have to come out of the experiences of workers in struggle. They are not alien to the working class – rather they are the inevitable conclusion that workers draw out of their struggles against this system.

Just as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X began drawing socialist conclusions out of their struggles, and as many union activists and community activists did before them, so the ideas of public ownership and socialism will once again be seen by growing numbers of people as the most practical alternative to our problems.

Time to Fight Back

The blatant capitulation of our elected politicians to Boeing’s power and influence should be a wake-up call to all Washingtonians. The billions of dollars handed over to Boeing have been taken directly from funding from schools, health care and unemployment benefits.

The same combination of powerful corporations and pro-big business public officials who pushed through this deal is determined to defend the interests of the rich and the big corporations. Their policies and actions are rooted in the deteriorating economic system of capitalism, which can no longer take society forward. Their refusal to challenge the warped logic of this system will lead to further cuts in essential social programs, deteriorating schools and health care, destruction of the environment, further layoffs, and a rise in homelessness and poverty. Employers will use this environment of cutbacks and the sluggish economy to further attack workers’ wages and working conditions.

It’s time for workers and young people to say that enough is enough. We need to reject these demands for more cutbacks and layoffs to further boost corporate profits. Working people are not responsible for this economic crisis, and we shouldn’t pay for it.

We must challenge the powerful corporations, like Boeing, that are driving this agenda, and put forward policies that seek to dismantle that power. We need to demand public ownership of these corporations under workers’ democratic control. That will put real power into the hands of working class people.

A Call to Action

We must get organized. We need to form unions in our workplaces, colleges, schools, etc. We need to build a mass movement on the streets to defeat the ruling class’s assault on our quality of life.

We also need to challenge the duopoly of power exerted by the Republicans and Democrats. We need to elect ordinary workers who will not take corporate money, and who instead wish to serve the majority of working people, not the bosses and bankers, and who will help us build a new mass working class movement. Where we are members of unions, we must urge our fellow workers to make our unions change their policies and politics.

We need to challenge the right of Mulally and the other rich executives and owners of Boeing to ravage our state. We must demand that our wealth is returned to us, and for democratic control of our society. The demand for public ownership of Boeing under democratic workers control and management is an essential demand around which such a movement can be built.

We urge everyone to step up into the struggle. We also urge those who agree with our conclusions, or who wish to hear more about the socialist alternative, to contact us and join our organization, Socialist Alternative, and inspire others that there is an alternative to the social decay we see around us.

To build a mass movement to defeat this big business agenda, we need a clear program that can mobilize workers and young people into action. We urge all labor, community, youth, organizations to take up these demands to build a powerful, united working class movement.

  • Repeal the $3.2 billion corporate welfare and other tax handouts to Boeing.
  • Restore all cuts in education, and fully fund education Initiatives 728 and 732
  • Fully fund public education so that there are quality schools available to every child
  • Restore all cuts in social services
  • Demand restoration of all cuts in federal funding for essential programs like Medicare and welfare services
  • For a 30 hour work week with no loss in pay or benefits, to stop the over-work of some workers and to create jobs for those in need
  • Expand the state’s Basic Health system so everyone can enjoy a free, public healthcare system – like the one enjoyed by the politicians in Washington D.C.
  • Create a system of free, high quality childcare so hard-working parents can have a safe place to leave their kids
  • Reestablish environmental regulations gutted by legislation, as part of establishing a system to protect the environmental quality of our region
  • Take Boeing into public ownership under workers’ democratic control and management. Rehire laid-off workers
  • Retool Boeing plants away from production for the military and towards production that will benefit the community, such as mass public transportation
  • Cancel all the corporate tax breaks of the last 20 years. Use this money to create full employment by building hospitals, schools, quality public housing, and a public transportation system for our communities
  • Mobilize a massive workers’ movement, including creating a new workers’ political party to fight for this agenda
  • Take the 500 largest corporations that dominate our society into public ownership under workers’ democratic control and management, as a step towards creating a socialist United States and a socialist world


  1. A list of the Washington Competitive Council’s 99 recommendation and legislative action taken on them is available in the “Washington Competitive Council Final Report”, January 2002. and CRC%20table%2004.17.03.pdf.
  2. “Why the WASL is So Awful.” Citizens United for Responsible Education 2006.
  3. An article summarizing these and other budget cuts is: “Washington’s budget fix spreads the pain, avoids taxes.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/8/03.
  4. A summary of the main hand out to Boeing is included in: Ammons, David.  “Gov. Locke signs Boeing tax breaks worth $3 billion.” Seattle Times 18June 2003.
  5. Mazerov, Michael. “The single-sales-facto formula: A boom to economic development or a costly giveaway.” 21 May 2001.
  6. Exemptions to Washington state business taxes are listed in: “Tax Exemptions 2000.” Washington State Department of Revenue, reported in: “How is Washington’s Education Climate?”  The Seattle Press, 4 April 2001. Boeing’s exemption to sales tax on the sale of airplanes is documented in George Erb, “Biz fears state may roll back some tax breaks.”  Puget Sound Business Journal, December 2001. Boeing’s tax-evasion trick of selling planes 200 miles offshore is documented in: Cringely, Robert, “Through a Loophole, Darkly — Why internet exemption tax is no entirely a good thing.” PBS.  8 October 1998.
  7. There is an extensive collection of research material on Boeing Company at: Draffan, George. “Profile of the Boeing Company.” Endgame Research Services.
  8. Parish, Geov. “When planemakers merge.” Eat the State.  24 March 1998.
  9. Seattle Times. 9 October 2004.
  10. Wall Street Research Net, 2 April 2003.
  11. Berger, Knute. “Mossback: Boeing 7$7 — The cost of keeping the company happy keeps going up.” Seattle Weekly  4 June 2003.
  12. Ciarrocca, Michelle. “Boeing: ‘Forever new frontiers’ or ‘the purse is now open.”  The Arms Trade Research Center.
  13. Seattle Post-Intelligencer  13 June 2003.
  14. Freidman, John.  “The decline of corporate income tax revenues.”  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities  24 October 2003.
  15. Ciarrocca, Michelle. “Boeing: ‘Forever new frontiers’ or ‘the purse is now open.”  The Arms Trade Research Center.
  16. Multinational Monitor  March 1997.
  17. Puget Sound Business Journal  14 April 2003.
  18. Seattle Times  2 April 2003.
  19. “Mahathir Speech.”  1994 China summit meeting.  11 May 1994. Reported in Greider, William.  One World, Ready or Not. The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism.  Simon and Schuster, 1997 (p 126).
  20. Greider, William.  One World, Ready or Not. The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism. Simon and Schuster, 1997 (p 151).
  21. Ibid. (p 135).
  22. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  23 March 2001.
  23. Klass, Tim. “Boeing layoffs could cool hot Puget Sound economy.” Associated Press 4 December 1998.
  24. Airwise News.
  25. Union Network International
  26. Clark, Kendall. “Update on the Boeing strike.” Direct Action Media Network.
  27. Good evidence of the failure of the major Seattle media to cover Boeing’s environmental record is covered in: Worth, Mark. “Boeing, the media’s sacred cow: ‘The giant moo of them all…’.”  Washington Free Press April 1993.
  28. These and more Boeing violations are listed in: Worth, Mark. “Boeing to regulators: ‘Who…US?’.” Washington Free Press  April 1993.
  29. Details of Boeing’s record of refusal to acknowledge injuries to its workers is documented in: Nelson, Eric and Mark Worth. “Boeing to ill workers: ‘It’s all in your head’.” Washington Free Press. Feb/March 1994.
  30. Worth, Mark. “Political muscle: “No one fucks with Boeing’.”  Washington Free Press  April 1993.
  31. An extensive collection of research material on Boeing Company is available in: Draffan, George. “Profile of the Boeing company.” Endgame Research Services.
  32. Seattle Times  25 July 2003.
  33. Holmes, Stanley and Mike France. “Boeing’s Secret- Did the aircraft giant exploit accounting rules to conceal a huge factory snafu.”  Business Week  20 May 2002.
  34. Worth, Mark. “Blowing the whistle on Boeing.” Washington Free Press April/May 1995.
  35. “Perspectives on how Boeing company layoffs may affect state revenue.”  Washington State Office of Financial Management Sept 2001,
  36. Berger, Knute. “Mossback: Boeing 7$7 — The cost of keeping the company happy keeps going up.” Seattle Weekly  4 June 2003.
  37. Washington State Business Roundtable.
  38. Business Week  12 October 1974: 20.
  39. The Olympian  11 February 2003.
  40. David Ammons.  “State employees federation proposes no-cut budget fix.”  Seattle Post-Intelligencer  11 December 2001. Refers to: Monrad, Marie. “Sensible Solutions: Ideas to strengthen Washington’s economic and fiscal health.” Washington Federation of State Employees 10 December 2001.
  41. “The Government Performance Project — The way we tax.”  Congressional Quarterly. Feb 2003.
  42. Postman, David.  “High tech tax breaks spark political fight.” Seattle Times 23 April 2003.
  43. History Committee of the Seattle General Strike Committee.  “The Seattle General Strike.”  Seattle Union Record Publication Co. Inc 1920: pp7-8. Referenced in: Brecher, Jeremy.  Strike. South End Press 1972 (p 124).
  44. “Under Siege! Global capitalism and the socialist alternative.”  Committee for a Workers International.