Boeing Co announced on Thursday that Nikki Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina governor, has resigned from its board following the announcement that Boeing was seeking a government bailout for coronavirus relief.
Boeing stock fell to as low as $92.41 on Thursday, the lowest the stock has been since spring of 2013. That is down 75 percent from last year when an Ethiopian airlines crash of a 737 MAX aircraft raised questions about the safety of Boeing’s airliners.
The corporate giant is demanding $60 billion from the government, otherwise they claim that 2.5 million jobs in the U.S. aerospace industry are at stake. Boeing has spent $43 billion in buying back its own stock in recent years, which has yielded roughly $17.4 billion in dividends, but now they want some payola from Uncle Sam.
One of the reasons industries are so short on cash right now is that they have spent billions buying back their own stocks instead of investing in their workers and saving for a rainy day.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 18, 2020
Analysts are saying that Boeing will likely go under if they do not receive the government assistance, and receive it fast.
“There are 2 million jobs on the line, and I think we must make sure that one of, if not the most important, company in this country remains solvent,” said Jim Cramer on CNBC. “Boeing needs this $60 billion … it’s not a plea from me, it’s a plea from the 2 million workers who are in its supply chain.”
Haley is apparently framing her departure as a revolt against cronyism and bailouts, but it’s more likely that she is leaving a sinking ship and attempting to save face.
Haley did not mind raking in Boeing’s dirty money when their sub-standard business practices, including an extreme amount of outsourcing, resulted in high-profile plane crashes costing hundreds of passengers their lives.
Big League Politics has reported on how Boeing outsourced key engineering jobs for their oft-malfunctioning airliners:
Boeing has been under fire lately for several deadly crashes involving its 737 Max aircrafts in 2019.
Bloomberg did a report back in 2019 spilling the beans on what potentially could have caused these crashes.
According to Boeing engineering veterans, the software mistakes that led to the deadly crashes, were allegedly the result of “a push to outsource work to lower-paid contractors.”
The Max software was developed when Boeing was down-sizing and cutting experienced engineers. The aerospace company was also pressing suppliers to cut costs.
According to Mark Robin, a former Boeing software engineer who worked in a flight-test group that supported the Max, recent college graduates working for Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd. occupied several rows of desks in offices across from Seattle’s Boeing Field.
The HCL coders were usually making designs according to specifications from Boeing. However, “it was controversial because it was far less efficient than Boeing engineers just writing the code,” Rabin claimed. Frequently, he recalled, “it took many rounds going back and forth because the code was not done correctly.”
… “Boeing was doing all kinds of things, everything you can imagine, to reduce cost, including moving work from Puget Sound, because we’d become very expensive here,” said Rick Ludtke, a former Boeing flight controls engineer who was laid off in 2017. “All that’s very understandable if you think of it from a business perspective. Slowly over time it appears that’s eroded the ability for Puget Sound designers to design.”
Rabin, the former software engineer, recalled one manager saying at a meeting that Boeing didn’t require the services of senior engineers because its products were allegedly “mature.”
Rabin, who was laid off in 2015, said, “I was shocked that in a room full of a couple hundred mostly senior engineers we were being told that we weren’t needed.”
Other aerospace engineers have commented on Boeing’s cutthroat business policies.
“Engineering started becoming a commodity,” claimed Vance Hilderman, who co-founded a company called TekSci that supplied aerospace contract engineers and began to lose work to overseas competitors in the early 2000s.
Haley is likely distancing herself from Boeing with her 2024 presidential ambitions in mind, as she hopes to co-opt President Trump’s “America First” movement back to globalism and neoliberalism.
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BACK TO WORK: Ford Motors Announces They Intend to Begin Reopening Plants on Apr. 6
Ford does not want to suspend production for months because of coronavirus.
Ford Motor Co. announced on Thursday that they intend to begin reopening some of their plants on Apr. 6, as the iconic automaker hopes that the coronavirus pandemic will not sideline their business for long.
Ford said last week that they would be suspending all production at their facilities indefinitely. They made the decision along with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with union workers spooked because of potential exposure to the coronavirus.
While Ford wants to resume their operations as quickly as possible, their plans are not written in stone. They could re-evaluate their time frame if the coronavirus pandemic worsens over the next ten days.
“We will continue to assess public health conditions as well as supplier readiness and will adjust plans if necessary,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of North America, said in a statement.
GM and Chrysler have not issued any possible schedule for resuming operations at the present time. If all goes according to plan, Ford will re-open the Hermosillo Assembly Plant on Apr. 6 for one shift. It would then open many more facilities across the country on Apr. 14.
The other corporate titans of Motor City may be skittish about reopening because of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s draconian restrictions on industry. Whitmer has issued an edict forcing all supposedly non-essential businesses to shutter until Apr. 13.
“The current trajectory we’re on seems a lot like Italy,” Whitmer said earlier this week. “We’ve got to do everything in our power to keep that from happening in Michigan.”
“This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities,” she added. “The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”
While public officials like Whitmer may have the best of intentions, their forced shut-down of the economy may cause more lasting damage to the country than the coronavirus ever could.
“The situation is fluid and can change week to week,” said Jim Cain, a spokesman for GM. “We don’t have firm return-to-work dates at this time.”
Americans are desperate to go back to work as the social safety net is strained like never before during these trying times. A dubious record was set for jobless claims filed in March, with three million Americans filing for unemployment benefits. President Trump hopes to have the country back on track by the Easter holiday.
“I think there are certain people that would like it not to open so quickly,” Trump said on Wednesday. “I think there are certain people that would like [the economy] to do financially poorly, because they think that would be very good as far as defeating me at the polls.”
He added: “I’m not going to do anything rash or hastily — I don’t do that. But the country wants to get back to work.”
It will not be easy for President Trump to pull the nation out of the grip of media-driven mass hysteria that has resulted from the coronavirus pandemic.
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