Oh no he didn’t? Oh yes, he did. His name is Thomas Geoghegan, and writing in the Wall Street Journal, he rips companies that move manufacturing to the South.
Why is Boeing, one of our few real global champions in beefing up exports, moving work on the Dreamliner from a high-skill work force ($28 an hour on average) to a much lower-wage work force ($14 an hour starting wage)? Nothing could be a bigger threat to the economic security of this country. …
We should be aghast that Boeing is sending a big fat market signal that it wants a less-skilled, lower-quality work force.
Hm. If Boeing really wants a “less-skilled, lower-quality work force” to build AIRPLANES, yes, that would be a problem. But given the importance of Boeing to making sure the airplanes it builds are quality products, something other than seeking cheap, stupid workers (basically, that’s what Geogheghan seems to think of Southern workers) may be motivating Boeing to go south. It may be, and I’m just spitballlin’ here, that Boeing sees that halving of per-hour labor cost as an objectively good thing to consider. And, still spitballin’ here, it may be that Boeing sees that companies like BMW and Mercedes Benz and Toyota, companies not known for building garbage products, have built thriving manufacturing centers across the South and have become more profitable as a result. Maybe Boeing recognizes that tax and regulatory burdens tend to be lighter in the South than elsewhere. Maybe Boeing just wants to be able to maintain a consistent production line free from Big Labor threats and skullduggery. Maybe, despite what Chicago labor lawyer Thom Geoghegan thinks, Boeing knows that Southern workers don’t need unions around to be productive.
Whatever the maybes are here, one thing’s for sure: It’s a bad idea to insult an entire section of the country, as this union lawyer does in this article. Keep insulting the South, sir, and we’ll return the favor by continuing to steal union jobs with our smarter economic and regulatory climate.
More: Yes, Thom, there are lessons in for the US in Europe’s approach to labor relations. Mostly in the relative frequency of strikes and riots.