The Wenatchee World

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This Afternoon

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Boeing, union and a tragic fate

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It reads like a classic tragedy. The characters are doomed, pushed toward their inevitable ignominious fate by their very nature — their instinct, desires, prejudice and frailty. They can’t help themselves. They do what they do because they must, even if it brings their own destruction. Everybody can see it coming.

Circumstance and fate steer all to the climactic crash. The Boeing Machinists would do almost anything to defend what they achieved in years of collective struggle. The corporate planners and risk managers would project far-off profit. They sought a bottom line 10 or 20 years out. They had to fix more precisely the future expense of building a modern airplane. How can you do that, relying on risky investments to fund 25 years of pension payments for tens of thousands of workers? In their world, you cannot.

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