SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. -- Nearly 60,000 jobs are tied indirectly to Boeing's777 project -- that's everyone from baristas to bus drivers. It all adds up to more than $3 billion dollars a year in income. With the machinist union'shistoric rejection of thecompany's contract offerof job stabilityin exchange for pension and health care benefits, many outside the companyare worried about the possible ripple effects of that decision across Snohomish County.
We've all got kids to take care of. We want tosee this continue, said Michelle Bowman, an office manager at Toolcraft machine shop in Monroe.
Toolcraft is one of at least five machine shops within just a couple miles of each other that all do considerable work with Boeing.Toolcraft makes small interior plane parts for Boeing contractors and business is good.
Over the past 23 years, Karl Niemela grew his business and his family as Boeing prospered. He started as a oneman operation with $5,000 in the bank.Toolcraft now employs 34 people, six of them are Niemela's own family members, including five sons. Forty-percent of the company's business is tied to Boeing. That's up from 25% just three years ago.
Fewoutside the company have more invested in Boeingthan Niemela when it comes to family.
As goes Boeing, so goes this company, he said Thursday.
But there is now talkaround town of a new normal, a reluctant assumption that Boeing, as we now know it, won't behereforever. Niemela's 20-year-old son Dennis grew up his dad's shop. He hopes one day his kids will do the same. Right now, though,nothing is for certain.
MaybeI could be gone, too, said theson. There's always that chance.
While there is much bluster about jobs jetting from Snohomish County, the elderNiemela isn't panicking. He is, however, always preparing for the day Boeing jobs go wheels up and leave him behind.
I've got a good crew running the day to day business, he said. It's my job to be on top of what's happening in the world and keep thinking of new ways to bring newwork in. I owe it to them