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Steve Wilhelm
Puget Sound Business Journal|www.bizjournals.com/seattle

Boeing has been ordered by the National Labor Relations Board to supply wage rate and productivity data to the company’s engineering union.

The ruling, which was made public by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) on Monday, is the result of filings made during contract talks in 2012.

While the ruling won’t impact the current contract, it could affect future negotiations and possibly could supply information the union could use in its age discrimination complaint against Boeing, filed July 23. read more »


While South Carolinians may be salivating at the idea of luring Washington state’s large aerospace supply network south following Boeing’s decision to build the 787-10 in North Charleston, such migration won’t happen anytime soon.

A combination of logistics and human factors are going to keep most of Washington’s hundreds of suppliers where they are, said Bob Uptagrafft, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance, which represents the region’s suppliers. read more »


In a decision that’s a blow for Washington state — but not a surprise— Boeing has decided to assemble the largest Dreamliner solely in South Carolina.

This is the first step in a series of moves that could eventually make North Charleston, S.C. the dominant producer of the carbon composite 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s office acknowledged the significance of the decision. read more »


If the coal export Gateway Pacific Terminal is built as planned, trucks and autos waiting at rail crossings could cost the region more than $3 million per year.

That’s a key conclusion from a study released Thursday by the Puget Sound Regional Council, an association of regional governments that advises them. The Gateway Pacific Terminal is proposed by Seattle-based SSA Marine for a shore site near Bellingham. read more »


Despite the loss of six Boeing 737 fuselages from a July 3 train derailment in Montana, Boeing’s Renton assembly plant continued to run full bore on Monday.

The only questions are whether the plant will be able to maintain its production rate if the fuselage supply runs low, and how much overtime Machinists will have to work to keep the plant pumping out aircraft at the current rate of two a day, said Les Mullen, president of Local A Machinists District Lodge 751, and a union veteran of aircraft production. read more »


For Washington state, landing the 777X has increased the likelihood that new aerospace suppliers will decide to come here.

That’s the word from Gov. Jay Inslee’s aerospace adviser, Alex Pietsch. He expects to return from the July 13-16 Farnborough Air Show in England with some new aerospace suppliers for Washington.

“This is the most excited I’ve been,” said Pietsch, who has participated in two major air shows previously. read more »


What can government-owned drones can look at? And what kind of information they can gather? Those were a few of the topics discussed at a preliminary meeting of the state Unmanned Aerial Systems Task Force on Monday in Olympia.

The 16-member group was established in April by Gov. Jay Inslee, after he vetoed House Bill 2789, which would have regulated “technology-enhanced government surveillance” including the government’s use of drones. read more »


If you’re reading this at 3 a.m., Paul Hogoboom’s Puyallup aerospace factory is running at full bore, milling Boeing aerospace parts out of blocks of aluminum and titanium.

But you’d have trouble finding your way around at P&J Machining Inc., because the lights are off and nobody is around. Except for the robots, that is.

P&J may be the most robotized aerospace supplier in Western Washington, with most of the work done by four robotic metal milling systems, which run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Hogoboom has just added a fifth, which cost $2.5 million, and will have that running soon, he said. The company generated $24 million in revenues in 2013, and he expects a 20 percent gain this year. read more »


Boeing starts to lift 737 production to 42 monthly Wednesday, but don’t expect a lot of new jobs.

The monthly increase from 38 to 42 of Boeing’s best-selling aircraft will add only “several hundred” more jobs to the Renton site, Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of the 737 program, said this week.

The first wing spars were to be loaded into production Feb. 5, for the first 737 at the 42-per-month rate. About 11,800 people work at the Renton site, according to a Boeing spokeswoman, so the increase is just over 2 percent.

But the production rate increase will increase pressure on the supply chain, and Wyse said her team is increasing its oversight to make sure that suppliers can keep up with the pace. “We have them come in and walk us through staffing, training plans,” she said during a morning briefing Feb. 4 with journalists in Renton. “If we see any instability there, we work closely with them, very intensively, to make sure they come back on plan.” read more »

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