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Season 5, Episode 82

Could Boeing make unions pay for bad management decisions?

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Tom Buffenbarger

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Independent labor voice Tom Buffenbarger appeared on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and spoke about recent safety concerns raised about Boeing aircraft and his concern that union members will ultimately pay the price for decisions by Boeing’s upper management.

Buffenbarger said the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into the Alaska Airlines incident in January when a door plug blew out over Portland, Ore. This comes nearly a month after Boeing announced major management changes, including the resignation of its CEO. Buffenbarger believes Boeing's problem is that management values profit over quality and safety. Congress, he said, is also part of the problem since they have not provided enough funding for the Federal Aviation Administration so it can hire enough inspectors to oversee Boeing. 

Buffenbarger believes many other companies follow similar paths where short-term shareholder profit is more important than safety, health and quality. It affects Boeing, its suppliers and the suppliers of suppliers, he reiterated. 

As a result of the company’s problems, Buffenbarger said Boeing is bleeding money and will use this to try and win during upcoming union negotiations. He is concerned that while the company can afford to pay a CEO $30 million to leave, the company will claim it is facing financial issues and will try to make the union accept a lesser deal at the bargaining table.

Listen to the entire episode to hear more about this topic:


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.

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