FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 29, 2019
Questions and Concerns at Boeing, a Shareholder’s Perspective
A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
Boeing shareholders met in Chicago today to discuss the state of the company and its varied business lines. Many endured the pouring rain to hear from the CEO, most especially about the company's safety commitment following two fatal crashes of its Max 8 passenger jet.
Although we (myself and my leadership team) attempted to be a part of this important discussion, we were inadvertently left unable to attend the meeting in Chicago. However, had we been able to join this important convening, I would have offered the following thoughts and concerns:
1. Boeing has worked diligently to correct the software inadequacies on the Max 8 jet. The acceptance of responsibility after the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airline crashes demonstrates Boeing’s recognition of the serious safety concerns shared by airline passengers around the world. These efforts must not relent until the safety issues are resolved, and the confidence of the flying public is restored.
2. The software issues in the Max 8 airplanes seems to parallel another concern within the software of the company’s work climate. Just before the Ethiopian airlines crash, there was a report of racial intimidation at the company’s North Charleston, SC facility, where a noose was reportedly found. There has been little public discussion about the workforce climate at Boeing plants due to the very urgent concern about the Max 8. However, fixing the product while leaving the defect in the work environment brings its own dangers and risks. This issue must be addressed seriously and publicly, just as the Max 8 issue has been.
3. Boeing’s position as a world leader in aerospace and technology systems must be reflected in its workforce. The public should know how many direct reports to the CEO are from underrepresented groups. How many corporate officers and directors of color and women are there in the company? We should know what the company's recruitment and corporate director development plan is in this same regard. Boeing should make its EEO-1 report to the SEC public, as well as disclose the percentage of corporate spend with minority vendors in technical, non-technical and professional services sectors.
The answers to these questions, and the actions needed to address any deficiencies will only help make Boeing better, and demonstrate that Boeing is not merely a global technology leader on paper, but in practice.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.