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Labor woes make Dreamliner delivery a bittersweet celebration for Boeing

by News on September 27, 2011

in Federal Legislation, Union Politics and Transparency

By Joe Logan/The Hill

Boeing will deliver its first 787 Dreamliner airplane today. Bought by All Nippon Airways, the plane will be flown from Seattle to Japan. Heralded as the future of commercial air travel, as well as the future of the Boeing Corporation, the sophisticated carbon-composite aircraft has been plagued by problems of delay and quality control in the company’s increasingly complex global supply chain. Three years behind schedule, the cost of the Dreamliner has exceeded $32 billion, over double the usual development cost of a new airliner.

But it is not only delay and spiraling costs that have dampened celebrations over the delivery of the first $200 million plane. Since April 2011, Boeing has been embroiled in an intense, and very public, dispute with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Machinists union over its decision to build a $750 million, non-union assembly plant for the Dreamliner in South Carolina, rather than expand production at its long-established unionized plant in Everett, Washington, where the All Nippon plane was build.


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