Boeing Documents Reveal Risks in Southern Strategy

A trove of newly released documents show that Boeing’s own executives believed that their plan to establish a second 787 line in South Carolina was their highest-risk option for their new Dreamliner jet and the one most likely to fail.

The documents, code-named “Project Gemini,” are part of the evidence subpoenaed by the National Labor Relations Board as part of its complaint against Boeing. The federal law enforcement agency alleges that Boeing is moving 787 work to Charleston in retaliation for strikes by Machinists District 751 in 2005 and 2008.

District 751 also released a report on Boeing’s tax strategy by the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future, which proclaims “there is no large company in America better at avoiding taxes than Boeing.” The report cites material from a workshop Boeing put on for other corporations in 2004, titled “Turning Your State Government Relations Department from a Money Pit into a Cash Cow.”

One way Boeing does that is to pit states against each other in a competitive bidding process, the Institute reported. That’s what happened in 2009, when Boeing’s decision to move the second 787 line out of Puget Sound sparked a bidding frenzy.

As Boeing profits from the handouts, the governments that grant them are struggling to fund basic services. South Carolina, for example, has run budget deficits of more than $1 billion in each of the past two years, forcing deep cuts in public health, education, universities, aid to seniors and disabled people and job-training programs (except for Boeing’s $33 million training pact).

“The combination of demands for low taxes, low wages and high-cost infrastructure is unsustainable,” the report said. “Boeing’s model for the new global corporation is an America without a middle class.”

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