Long Beach, Calif. hoping Boeing work will return

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING5 News Aviation Specialist

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on November 19, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 20 at 12:09 AM

Jim Snyder started building planes at what was McDonnell Douglas in 1978. 

Seattle may consider itself jet maker to the world, but Southern California carried just as much weight at one point Douglas Aircraft was No. 1.

Now there is rusty fencing, empty assembly buildings and memories.

“It's heartbreaking,” said Snyder. “It puts it into perspective, and you can understand, you can put a whole bunch of buildings up here, but you don't have a company until you have people in there are product being built.”

Snyder gives us a driving tour of what was; and what he hopes the future could bring if Boeing builds even pieces of the 777X here.  There is a lot of room to build a new factory on the ground that used to support old ones.

Boeing took over McDonnell Douglas 16 years ago and still builds one plane here - the C-17 for the U.S. Air Force.  But production is winding down and will end in 2015. It's the last airplane to be built in California.  The hope is that opens makes way for the 777X.

“They say they have all options on the table. I don't know if that includes us or not,” said Snyder.

Snyder worked on the C-17 too.  But now he heads his Union's bargaining committee, the United Auto and Aerospace Workers.

“I think the pool is still pretty much here of talent, that they could retrieve and get in here,” said Snyder.

“I reached out to Boeing after I heard about the Puget Sound workers vote and I offered by assistance to do anything I can to bring those jobs to California,” said Al Muratsuchi, California Assembly member 66th Destrict

Muratsuchi is a California Legislator heads a newly established committee designed to win aerospace jobs. 

Can California compete against Washington's offer of $8.7 billion tax breaks?

“We all recognize that in order to bring the jobs to California, we need to provide the incentive to make the bottom line pencil out,” said Muratsuchi.

But it could be a while before California has a package to bring to Boeing - now comes the waiting.

“We're a realistic option for additional  work down here,” said Snyder.
   
As for the union, the UAW says it's already made concessions to the company, for example, new hires would not get a traditional pension though older employees retain theirs. New employees would not get retiree medical that Boeing says it would still offer the machinists in Seattle.

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