Tanker Contract: Corporate Serfdom or Quality Jobs?
The governors of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama are pushing the U.S. Defense Department to award in 2010 a $35 billion to $40 billion tanker contract to European-owned EADS/Airbus rather than U.S.-based Boeing Corp.
In doing so, Republican Govs. Haley Barbour, Bobby Jindal and Bob Riley are seeking to pit worker against worker, North against South, as a ploy to cover what’s really at stake: family-supporting jobs.
See, these governors loooove job creation in their states—as long as those jobs don’t pay much. Or offer affordable health insurance and retirement security. And especially as long as those jobs aren’t union.
If Boeing is awarded the contract for the refueling tanker aircraft, 44,000 family-supporting production jobs will be created across the country. In contrast, the few thousand jobs created under an EADS contract would be low-paid assembly jobs with no union protection.
In announcing a new alliance to lobby for the Europeans to win the tanker contract, Barbour made clear what’s really at stake for this set of anti-worker politicians: Killing union jobs because unions are the best defense against the type of corporate serfdom these latter-day peasant-masters want to perpetuate. At this week’s launch of the Aerospace Alliance, Barbour said that if the Gulf Coast site is chosen,
you don’t have to worry about [workers] being out on strike when America needs them.
The Republican governors’ divide-and-conquer tactic has been used time and again by anti-union management: Create division between workers so they will not join in solidarity against the real threat—corporate puppet masters and their political puppets.
In the short-term, the tanker contract is about jobs. But it’s also about the future of the nation’s economy. Unless production-related employment in the United States is increased, our nation will sink further behind the industrialized world in research and development and the high-level involvement in manufacturing that propelled our economy to the top.
Granting the tanker contract to Boeing is a step toward returning critically needed production jobs to the United States. And it’s a step away from the corporate-serfdom fantasized by corporate-bought lawmakers.