Why take Boeing work to South Carolina … they’re stupid hicks ya know?

That really is the argument Thomas Geoghegan puts forward in his Wall Street Journal opinion piece. He thinks opening a Boeing Dreamliner production line sends “a big fat market signal that it [Boeing] wants a less-skilled, lower-quality work force.” His words, and he things the NRLB should fix it.

Are you friggin’ kidding me? If that isn’t a racist statement, I really don’t know what is. Geoghegan is a labor lawyer from Chicago … and that’s all I need to tell you about his background. This goofball starts his article complaining about remarks made by Boeing management that put them into this situation in the first place. Maybe he should listen to his own advice.

It seems the president of Boeing was unwise enough to blurt out that his company would move a production line to South Carolina as payback for past strikes by machinists in Seattle.

First some background. When I read this complete twist of the truth, I figured the piece was going nowhere fast but it got worse … a lot worse. With Boeing’s plan to ramp up production of its new aircraft – that’s right, I said ramp upexpandincrease production – the business had some decisions to make. They needed to build another production line to meet demand.

In 2009 Boeing announced plans to build a new plant to meet demand for its new 787 Dreamliner. Though its union contract didn’t require it, Boeing executives negotiated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to build the plane at its existing plant in Washington state. The talks broke down because the union wanted, among other things, a seat on Boeing’s board and a promise that Boeing would build all future airplanes in Puget Sound.

So Boeing management did what it judged to be best for its shareholders and customers and looked elsewhere. In October 2009, the company settled on South Carolina, which, like the 21 other right-to-work states, has friendlier labor laws than Washington. As Boeing chief Jim McNerney noted on a conference call at the time, the company couldn’t have “strikes happening every three to four years.” The union has shut down Boeing’s commercial aircraft production line four times since 1989, and a 58-day strike in 2008 cost the company $1.8 billion.

I’m assuming the quote by McNerney is what Geoghegan is freaking out about. Maybe Geoghegan should do some research to find out how much Boeing has expanded production in the Seattle area in the last couple of years? Maybe check to see if Boeing already has a 787 production line in Seattle? I won’t hold my breath, but as usual, this nut writes the article a way that implies thousands of workers are losing their jobs in Seattle because of this decision and the production of this new jet will be exclusive to South Carolina. A total lie by omission.

On to the collection of stupid, racist statements by Geoghegan. First, the headline suggests this business decision is some sort of threat to American enterprise (Oh my!) and the stories abstract goes a step further.

When major firms move to the South, it’s usually a harbinger of quality decline. Why let that happen?

In other words, the manufacturing quality of all of the products made in the south by hillbillies and rednecks sucks as compared to hard-working, educated, blue collar workers in the Pacific northwest. That’s what you meant to say right?

Yet the Boeing case has a scarier aspect missed by conservatives: Why is Boeing, one of our few real global champions in beefing up exports, moving work on the Dreamliner from a high-skill work force ($28 an hour on average) to a much lower-wage work force ($14 an hour starting wage)? Nothing could be a bigger threat to the economic security of this country.

Note the turn in phrase from high-skilled to lower-wage. What he’s implying is lower wages equals low-skilled, and that’s definitely not the case across the board. He goes on to claim businesses who move south have such a decline in quality, they eventually are out-of-business within a couple of years since the stupid rednecks can’t do anything right.

By the way … it costs a hell of a lot less to live in South Carolina than Seattle. Oh never mind … Geoghegan is an economic genius I can’t even begin to match.

J.E Dyer from Hot Air’s Green Room notes…

Here’s a weird fact, though.  There is already a plant manufacturing rear-fuselage elements for Boeing in South Carolina.  (The Dreamliner final-assembly plant that opened 10 June is located next to it.)  South Carolina also has a BMW plant, a Honda plant, a Bosch plant, a Caterpillar plant, an American LaFrance plant (fire engines and ambulances), and a Daimler plant, all employing highly-skilled labor to manufacture big, intricate stuff that has to work.  That’s in addition to the Milliken, BASF, GE, Core, Bose, BP, DAK, DuPont, Eastman, Mitsubishi, Albemarle, MeadWestvaco, PhilChem, Roche, Mount Vernon Mills, Invista, Metromont, Johns Manville, Alcoa, Kimberly-Clark, Shaw, Jarrett, Mohawk, Anderson, AccuTrex, Sonoco, and Cox Industries plants – and those are just the ones I recognized by industry as I looked through the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance website.  I left out a bunch of other ones.

Should I go on?  If Southern manufacturing workers are a national liability, we’re in big trouble.  All those aircraft engines being mishandled at the Pratt & Whitney plant in Georgia.  Shoddy VWs and Nissans coming out of Tennessee, Hyundai clunkers being puked out of Alabama, lousy Kias flooding the market from Georgia, Toyota risking its customers on the gap-toothed th’owbacks who show up with employment applications in Mississippi.

Dyer goes on to scare all of us as he notes there are almost 250 manufactures of aircraft or aircraft parts in Texas for goodness sake.

This is the argument from union leadership … it’s the only argument from union leadership. Keep that in mind.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. TomL on June 21, 2011 at 8:44 am

    What were not hearing is that the plant that was existing voted to decertify the union. That’s why the NLRB ruled to leave employee’s out of the lawsuit with Boeing.

  2. GdavidH on June 21, 2011 at 9:33 am

    No shame in journalism anymore?

  3. Steve M on June 21, 2011 at 10:24 am

    @GdavidH – this was an opinion piece, not a straight news story. Not sure what you mean.

  4. GdavidH on June 21, 2011 at 11:41 am


    Your point is well taken. I get it….Freedom of speach.
    What I meant to convey is that the vetting process for these “writers” by the??newspapers that print their?pieces has become?sadly irresponsible. Does the WSJ have no resposibility for what it prints even if it is an opinion piece? When does?”opinion”, with no regard for truth, become?inflamatory or defamatory? And who decides??
    Would you ever write something?like this?

  5. Tim-in-Alabama on June 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Haha, it’s good to be stupid and build things. We’re pretty dumb down here. We have the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center where idiots do, well, you know, rocket science including building the boosters that put man on the moon. Nearby Redstone Arsenal develops high-tech weapons that make our enemies blow up good … blow up real good. The Anniston Army Depot rebuilds M1 Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles to new condition. We build Atlas and Delta launch vehicles; Mercedes M-Class SUVs; Honda Pilots and Odysseys; Hyundai Sonatas and until recently, the Sante Fe, which is now made just across the Georgia state line; and Toyota truck engines – just to name a few dumb things. Thyssen-Krupp recently located a multi-billion dollar steel plant near Mobile. Mobile also was to be the site of the new Air Force refueling tanker’s construction until hardball politics took it away. Manufacturers from across the United State and world “export” their jobs here because they like building stuff near their major markets and having a reasonably priced, good natured, hard working workforce – which is a mixture of both non-union and union labor. I’m glad Geoghagen doesn’t like us. That means he won’t move down here and tell us all…

  6. Tim-in-Alabama on June 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    how great it is in Chicago.

  7. ricbee on June 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I was a top machinist in my day.? When I walked into Cushman Industries I didn’t know where the “on ” switch was…but I learned & I’m a Polock.

  8. Eric on June 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    This was less of an opinion piece then it was a hit piece. ?Geoghagen lied profusely, and his intent was to add fuel to the fire that the NLRB has started out in Washington State. ?You need to understand that this guy is an attorney, and attorney’s get paid to lie, so he’s only doing what comes naturally to him, as sad as that may be. ?The IAMAW made their bed, having bent Boeing over backwards in an attempt to hustle them out of a seat on the board and numerous other extras that they had no business asking for. ?Unions have become notorious for their willingness to try and extort anything and everything from management in an attempt to line their gold-gilded pockets with ill gotten gain. ?This is reason enough to rein in these out of control labor cabals, if not breaking them completely. ?There was a time when labor needed the safety and support of a union. ?That time has long since passed.

  9. Tim-in-Alabama on June 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I just realized how stupid I am. It’s Marshall Space Flight Center what builds them rockets – the place I mentioned earlier is the museum.

  10. Don Lombardo on June 23, 2011 at 9:41 am

    It seems the Liberals are always PROFILING Southerners.


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