Building trades commit to 24-hour work schedule
By TIM ROWDEN
St. Louis – Flanked by state and local labor leaders, elected officials, business professional and educators leaders Gov. Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 1, a bipartisan piece of legislation aimed at helping Missouri compete for production of Boeing’s next-generation commercial aircraft, the 777X.
The signing ceremony was held in front of the Missouri-made Mercury space capsule at the James S. McDonell Planetarium in Forest Park in a nod to the region’s long history of providing skilled craftsmanship for technologically advanced manufacturing jobs.
“Just as workers right here in St. Louis helped our nation reach for the stars by building the Mercury space capsules a half century ago, today we send clear message that Missouri is ready to open the next great chapter for high-tech aerospace manufacturing in our state,” Nixon said. “This bipartisan legislation demonstrates once again that when it comes to opportunities to create thousands of family-supporting jobs and grow our high-tech manufacturing industry, Missouri competes to win.”
With more than a dozen states vying to build the 777X, Nixon called the Legislature into a special session earlier this month to draft and approve an incentive package to help Missouri compete for the job-generating project.
With thousands of jobs at stake, state and local officials and labor leaders banded together to put together a package of incentives and commitments to lure manufacture of the next-generation aircraft to Missouri.
“We’re excited to be in the running,” Hugh McVey, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO said. “We did our part to pull this together. We’ve done everything we can. We want to be players in this. And we want the work here. We’ve proven over the years that we can do the work.”
The final proposal and commitments include:
• $1.7 billion in tax incentives in SB 1.
The proposed incentives are dependent on the creation of thousands of new jobs and will be offered under the Missouri Works Program, the BUILD program, the Missouri Works Training Program, and the TIF act.
Boeing already employs about 15,000 people in Missouri and makes military aircraft at its plant by Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
Missouri’s incentives would grow based on the number of new jobs Boeing would bring to Missouri for the commercial airplane.
If Boeing picked Missouri for the 777X’s wing fabrication and assembly facility, it would create about 2,000 jobs. If Missouri landed the wing fabrication and assembly, body assembly and final assembly and delivery facilities, it would create about 8,500 new jobs.
• A commitment by St. Louis building trades unions to a 24-hour, five-day a week, no-overtime work schedule if Boeing selects St. Louis for production of the new plane.
The commitment was signed onto by the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council and the Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis.
The aggressive work schedule would double the number of work hours each week, triple the committed workforce, and reduce the construction time by at least a year.
“I think the building trades’ role is critical, because when you can get the product to market ahead of anybody, that enables you to sell, make money and move the ball,” Jeff Aboussie, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades said. “Having the workforce to build and do things in an accelerated fashion is what big business is looking for. That’s why I think we exceed the bar on this. We’re not just close, we exceed it.”
• 1.8 billion in incentives from St. Louis County if the Boeing agrees to build the 777X at a site on the edge of Lambert St. Louis International Airport.
The county incentives would come in the form of tax incremental financing, sales tax abatements and Chapter 100 economic development bonds.
Coupled with the tax breaks approved the state legislature, the county’s offer ups Missouri’s ante in the Boeing sweepstakes to nearly $3.5 billion.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-St. Louis) and fellow Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Strafford) also sent a letter to Boeing, urging them to consider the State of Missouri’s proposal.
Boeing is expected to announce early next year where it plans to manufacture the new plane.
THOUSANDS OF JOBS
Winning production of the next-generation 777X would bring billions of dollars in new investment and thousands of new advanced manufacturing jobs to the St. Louis region and throughout the state by creating opportunities for a whole new supplier base.
In Washington State, where the Boeing 777 is manufactured, the commercial aircraft factory generates $20 billion in economic activity annually and supports 56,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Boeing will establish new tech. research center in St. Louis
Unrelated to the 777X, Boeing has announced that it will establish a new technology research center in St. Louis, adding 300-400 jobs to the aerospace giant’s St. Louis workforce.
Boeing has about 15,000 employees in the St. Louis area today, including about 500 working for Research and Technology.
The recent announcement follows an announcement in the spring that 400 information technology jobs would shift to St. Louis from the Puget Sound region.