‘We’re Going to Continue to Grow’

INNOVATION & TEAM WORK: Boeing Vice President and 787 Dreamliner General Program Manager Bob Zaback (pictured left) says his company’s union-free “model” in South Carolina “has led to more innovation because people from different teams are allowed to work together” rather than stay “in their separate lanes.” Photo furnished by Boeing Co., and previously published by The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.).

Boeing’s South Carolina facility is just one of many examples illustrating how workplaces free of monopolistic unionism and Big Labor-imposed work rules excel in innovation, productivity and achievement.

A decade ago, when Boeing announced plans to build a commercial airplane assembly plant in N. Charleston, S.C., far from the company’s traditional manufacturing base in forced-unionism Washington State, Big Labor threw a fit.

International Association of Machinists (IAM) union bosses reacted with rage when they learned about Boeing managers’ decision to manufacture the new 787 Dreamliner in Right to Work South Carolina, at a new facility that likely would be nonunion.  Pro-forced unionism, Obama-appointed National Labor Relations Board bureaucrats tried to derail the expansion. Union-friendly political pundits even suggested the South Carolina move would fail.

Ten years after the furor began, a David Wren article in the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier, takes a look at what’s actually happened.  He analyzes the impact of Boeing at and around the facility in N. Charleston.

Wren interviewed Brad Zaback, the Boeing vice president who is general manager of the 787 Dreamliner program.

After the facility was completed, Boeing “added an engine design and manufacturing center, a factory that makes interior cabin parts, a research and technology center and a two-bay paint hangar to its South Carolina holdings while providing maintenance for the C-17 Globemaster cargo planes at the adjacent Charleston Air Force Base.”

Zaback confidently predicts: “We’re going to continue to grow and we’re going to continue to earn more work from Boeing.”

A 32-year veteran with the company, Zaback also oversees a shop in Everett, Wash., that is under the monopoly-bargaining control of International Association of Machinists (IAM) union bosses.  In his view, as summarized by Wren, the union-free “North Charleston model” has “led to more innovation because people from different teams are allowed to work together” instead of staying “in their separate lanes.”

Zaback elaborated: “We can work with the teammates directly [in South Carolina] and we can have engineers come and work with mechanics on some area that’s really hard — in a  lot of our sites we can’t do that . . . . The more engaged a workforce, the happier and more stable everyone is. That model will take us far beyond what anyone else can do.”

Wren’s article illustrates how the highly skilled manufacturing workers of 21st Century America can and do provide well for themselves and their families while competing successfully with their counterparts all over the world. But with relatively few exceptions American workers can’t do these things if they are hamstrung by a compulsory-unionism regime and antiquated, counter-productive Big Labor work rules.