Boeing's Behavior in a Liberalized Marketplace: The 787 Dreamliner Project and Impact on Puget Sound Workers

Date of Award


Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no embargo, no restriction)

Work Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Michael Honey

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Begun

Third Advisor

William McGuire


Discourse on the outsourcing of commercial aircraft production has taken place in the fields of economics and labor studies, each with differing observations. Cloud (2011) and Greenberg et al. (2010) argue Boeing's pervasive outsourcing, with the goal of cutting labor costs and maximizing profits, has negatively impacted Boeing's workers and labor unions. On the other hand, economics research suggests outsourcing will create greater productivity, resulting in job creation and higher domestic wages (Ruffin, 2002; Zhao and Makoto, 2010). The 787 Dreamliner production model challenges this assumption. The 787 strategy caused financial losses for Boeing, while simultaneously weakening IAM District 751 and SPEEA Local 2001. Denning (2013), Tang and Zimmerman (2009) provide evidence Boeing over-utilized outsourcing, which I integrate with labor's critique. I focus on the 787 three-tier supply chain and final assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina. I conclude highlighting the experiences of three local Boeing workers and one union official. I contend that Boeing curtailing further outflow from the Puget Sound may benefit both Boeing and the local workforce.