When I was in Seattle last week, I expressed support for the workers opposing the outsourcing of Boeing jobs, and it is reassuring to see recent signs of progress on this front. The Nader/Gonzalez campaign stands in solidarity with the thousands of workers represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) in their struggle to protect their jobs at the giant and profitable Boeing Corporation, one of only two manufacturers of large passenger aircraft left in the world.
In the coming days, the workers at Boeing will have vote on a new contract. Their 8-week long resistance against Boeing’s unpatriotic off-shoring agenda resulted in losses of an estimated $5 billion to the company — a hard blow to a corporation aiming to set a record profit for another consecutive year. Boeing, which earned a net profit of $4.07 billion last year, almost double from 2006, can afford to negotiate a fair contract taking into account inflation and rising costs of food and housing, even if that means the company’s grossly overpaid executives will have to share some of the tremendous wealth they’ve acquired.
This strike at Boeing was indicative of the situation at large in this country where we find giant corporations wrapped up in greed and corruption attempting to cheat workers out of their deserved wages, benefits, health care, and even their jobs as they send them to countries overseas run by oligarchs and dictators. Nader/Gonzalez stands fervently against the outsourcing of jobs and supports a call to withdraw from NAFTA and the WTO whose anti-democratic, pro-corporate tenets espouse such disloyalty to this country’s workers.
For decades, we have been calling on the government to hold corporations like Boeing accountable for their violations and misconduct against workers and consumers. In the ’70s and ’80s, our groups were instrumental in pushing legislation through Congress such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act to ensure worker protection, and we have long been calling for a living wage and for a repeal of the horrendously anti-union Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.
Only through organized struggle, as has been so brilliantly displayed by the workers represented by IAM in Washington, Oregon and Kansas, can we begin to realize the true power the masses hold over the few.