It Was Worth the Effort - The Missourian: Opinion

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It Was Worth the Effort

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Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 8:31 am

Missouri didn’t land the Boeing project for the production of the 777X aircraft because workers for the company in Seattle agreed to a new contract that the company wanted to keep the work there. There are people who will be heard to say that Boeing never intended to move the work and the other states that made efforts and offered packages of incentives to get the company were a waste of time. In other words, it all was done to get a better contract in their minds. We believe Boeing was serious in seeking proposals from other states and had not the union at Seattle approved a new contract that lessened pension and other benefits for workers, the work would have gone elsewhere.

Gov. Jay Nixon put together an attractive proposal with the cooperation of members of the General Assembly. One of the most attractive incentives in the proposal was that unions in St. Louis agreed on a 24-hour work program without overtime to build the facility for the production of the 777X. That was a tremendous incentive.

Boeing officials had to be impressed with Missouri’s proposal. The company won’t forget Missouri’s package of incentives and high interest.

Gov. Nixon said the state was a finalist in the competition for production of the aircraft. He thanked members of the General Assembly, community colleges, labor unions and government entities for their efforts and cooperation. The governor said the Missouri proposal was “nationally recognized” for its incentives and pledges to Boeing.

Boeing likes St. Louis. It recently brought 700 research and technology jobs to St. Louis. Other cities and states would have welcomed with wide open arms to obtain those jobs.

The vote last Friday by union members to approve the eight-year contract was close. It was approved by 51 percent for and 49 percent against. Boeing workers in November rejected a contract because it contained numerous concessions. Workers recognized the company was serious about moving the work. Boeing had 22 offers from states. The state of Washington offered the company $8.7 billion in subsidies through 2040 if it did not move the work.

Missouri didn’t win but its offer impressed Boeing. The company will bring more jobs to Missouri.

/opinion