News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, JULY 10, 2005


Get it together, Boeing your employees need you

Boeing is an excellent company and an important part of our community. Which is why we hope it can get things together.

The most recent shoe to drop on Boeing came from the U.S. State Department. The Feds claim Boeing shipped commercial jets to China without first obtaining an export license for an included electronic chip with military defense applications.

All told, the State Department accused Boeing of 94 related export violations between 2000 and 2003. The company could end up paying $47 million in fines.

Last year, the government concluded the chip did not require an export license. The penalty would focus, however, on the time period before that change in position. Boeing, according to the allegations, showed "blatant disregard for the authority of the department."

The State Department went on to charge that Boeing exported the chips despite explicit instructions not to do so.

Standing alone, the alleged infraction would not be so bothersome. Unfortunately, however, it does not stand alone.

Before that, Lockheed-Martin accused Boeing of stealing plans that it then included in the design of satellite-launch vehicles. That allegation triggered the suspension of Boeing's ability to bid on Air Force launch-vehicle contracts. Local employees felt the sting of that disaster.

Before that, according to the Air Force, Boeing offered Air Force employee Darleen Druyun a job in an effort to get a competitive edge on the satellite-launch contracts — which generated even more fines.

Boeing management is working to rein in the company. We hope it succeeds before more of its area employees feel the sting of undeserved pink slips.

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