Inslee calls Boeing work outside state a 'disaster' and a 'big risk'
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington Governor Jay Inlsee has a message for his fellow governors who are competing against him for Boeing manufacturing of the 777X.
"Good luck! And may the best state win. And we're the best state. We are clearly the best state to build these airplanes," Inslee said.
Inslee made no bones about it: When Boeing has moved airplane work out of Washington, he insists it has caused problems.
Outsourcing part of the troubled 787 contributed to burning batteries, he said. And manufacturing lines in South Carolina are a "disaster," he said, producing just a third of the planes they've expected per month.
"People who have evaluated the industry have recognized what a huge risk it would be for Boeing to go down that route and take this whole industry down to the roulette wheel. This is too important," he said.
The Governor gave KOMO 4 News an exclusive one-on-one interview late Wednesday and indicated the fight to save 50,000 Boeing jobs is just getting started.
Boeing machinists this month rejected a contract offer that would have kept the 777X jobs here, just days after the legislature had just approved $9 billion in tax incentives for the 777x.
"I have been involved in talking to both management and aerospace workers, to see if they can continue their discussions. And I hope they will," he said.
He was asked: "Do you believe that many of the workers who voted against the contract didn't believe that Boeing would start looking elsewhere?"
"Well, look, I respect whatever votes people cast," he said, inching away from the delicate nature of the union vote. "These are the best aerospace workers in the world and this is a tough position to be in!"
He was also asked: "Does it make you angry that your colleagues in other states are salivating over Boeing?"
"No! This is real life. We've got to be accepting of real life," he said. "And in real life, every other state in the union would be salivating over these jobs. That's just a real life fact. We live in a competitive economy. And the good news is we can compete in that."
Boeing is making good on its threat to look elsewhere. But will it actually take the 777x to another state? Inslee doesn't intend to find out.
"It's the single most important thing for the economy in the next decade for the State of Washington," he said.
Boeing leaders have been meeting with reps from at least half a dozen other states with more likely to come.