Boeing Strike Hurts Suppliers — More of This to Come Under Obama?

Boeing's top and bottom line numbers continue to slide thanks in large part to a union-led strike that began in early September. And their suppliers are feeling the pinch as well. According to this article in Procurement Leaders, "almost 27,000 workers staged a walk-out on September 6 following concerns over the company’s outsourcing plans … the ongoing industrial action is already being felt by some of the company’s major suppliers, many of whom are now facing an uncertain future."

Even though I'm all for livable wages, we should all be wary of the power of unions to wreck havoc with company supply chains. This is a topic with which we should all become more familiar as I strongly believe that an Obama presidency -- which seems all but assured -- will increase unionization in North America by doing away with the secret ballot approach to voting. According to one story on how employees vote to become a union shop, "currently, when 50 percent of workers in a company sign statements to unionize, that merely sets up a second stage, where workers vote by secret ballot to determine if the company would be unionized. Under the new proposal [that Obama favors] using a system called "Card Check," unionization would occur as soon as half the workers had signed cards stating that they favor union representation."

I won't get into the merits of how this approach will lead to the bullying of workers in this post, but I will call out that the card check system will be extremely detrimental to supplier relationships given the potential for union strikes to shutter facilities, much as the current Boeing strike is doing across the A&D supply chain.

- Jason Busch

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