Boeing strike hurts Dreamliner

Striking Boeing machinist Michael Glover gestures to passing cars while manning the picket line outside Boeing's plant in Everett, Washington

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Renita Jablonski: For the last seven weeks, machinists at Boeing have been on strike. The walkout has wiped out nearly a month of aircraft production. Boeing reported a 38 percent drop in earnings yesterday. Now the company says some orders for its new 787 Dreamliner will probably be delayed. Today in Washington, negotiations continues under the watchful eye of a federal mediator. Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports.


John Dimsdale: Almost 27,000 factory workers have been living on $150 per week strike pay since the walkout began September 6. Boeing's commercial aircraft factories have been shut down.

And the company's hope for the future, the 787 Dreamliner, is already 16 months behind schedule. And that hurts, according to Standard & Poor's economist David Wyss.

David Wyss: Boeing had been gaining a lot of orders at the expense of Airbus because Airbus had such long delivery lags on some of the planes. Now Boeing's delivery lags are going up. This puts Airbus back into the game.

Still, Boeing has $350 billion in new aircraft orders. And even though it's losing as much as $100 million a day, Boeing is likely to withstand union demands for more job security and less outsourcing, says industry analyst Richard Aboulafia.

Richard Aboulafia: Given their strong financial position and the strength of the defense side, there are no doubts that the company can continue to ride this strike out for months to come.

Boeing is one of the country's biggest exporters and the federal negotiator says a strike settlement is a high priority.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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