Boeing's Persecution of Other Inspectors Trying to Do the Right Thing
This Page Documents Some of Boeing's Persecution of Other Inspectors Who Also Tried to Do Their Safety Critical Jobs:
As a comment for my 2-15-07 Daily Report Quote, I wrote:
'Almost unbelievable (but true and believable when you know how "defective" Boeing's quality system and culture really are) is the fact that Boeing tried to silence and punish an inspector who was trying to expose Boeing's failure to act internally to prevent such incidents because of these fuse pins. I do not remember if this incident was before or after the noted crashes. Unfortunately I did not find it in a Google search, albeit it was publicized, even if only superficially.
The inspector felt so strongly about the issue that they took data home, presumably to report the safety issue they were concerned about to the relevant investigative institution to ensure the safety of personnel flying applicable Boeing aircraft, among others (please bear with me, as I am working from distant memory on this event). Somehow Boeing found out they had taken this action, and fired the inspector for doing so (sounds familiar, doesn't it). Much later, the inspector had to be restored to their job because the union won a grievance over their termination. I believe this inspector was active in the union, especially after being restored to their job over Boeing's objection. I have asked my Union Business Rep to coordinate the union's current grievance of my termination with the same business rep that handled that inspector's eerily similar unjust termination. Of course, Boeing terminated me with full knowledge of their similar termination of the noted inspector. And that inspector is not the only QA personnel Boeing terminated or laid off for trying to do their jobs despite Boeing's wishes that they do not do them, however critical to public and military personnel's safety those personnel's jobs were. Of course, Boeing is careful not to reveal the real reason they fired or laid off such personnel, but if they place you under surveillance, they can easily find (or even manufacture, as I have heard Boeing can do from my union) a reason to terminate you, however minor, even if it is for something you did directly related to your job, protecting lives, and/or bringing Boeing's fraudulent actions to light, even if permitted in Boeing policies, such as happened in my case of unjust termination by Boeing. Do you see a pattern here? I do, too. To be so consistent in your methods across a large enterprise, such terminations and layoffs must be directed from a central source--upper management. And it was at the highest levels of Boeing management from which my termination was coordinated and approved.'
End of Quote.
Well, I just found an article on the noted inspector who got fired by Boeing for an all too eerily similar reason as I was. Here it is (comments in parenthesis and bolding of article text is mine):
LONG LABOR GRIEVANCE SETTLED - BOEING MUST REHIRE INSPECTOR; [FINAL Edition]
KAREN WEST, P-I Reporter.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 07, 1997
The Boeing Co. has been ordered to pay more than $150,000 in back wages and benefits and to reinstate the job of a quality control inspector who was fired nearly 2 1/2 years ago.
The ruling, issued Dec. 24 by an Oregon arbitrator, concludes one of the longest-running grievance battles between Boeing and its largest union.
Boeing spokesman Peter Conte said yesterday the company will abide by the ruling, but he declined further comment on specifics of the case.
Under the ruling, Charlie Grieser, who had worked at Boeing since 1978, will get his former job back as a quality assurance inspector at the Everett plant and be reinstated as a union shop steward.
Boeing was further directed to pay for "all wages and benefits lost as the result of the discharge," arbitrator Gary Axon said in his ruling.
While Axon said Boeing did not have cause to fire Grieser, he ruled that the company did have the right to suspend him for 30 days without pay.
Grieser was fired by Boeing Aug. 3, 1994 (One year, nine months, and 30 days after the EL Al crash my "Daily Report Quote" comment above refers to), for violating company rules and for unauthorized possession of original company documents, according to the arbitrator's ruling.
Grieser, 47, claims he was fired in retaliation for being a union activist and for his part in helping discover improperly installed engine bolts on about 700 Boeing 747 and 767 jets in 1993 (these, I believe, were the bolts going through the center of the fuse pins. The failure of the fuse pin connections was found to have precipitated the El Al and China Airlines crashes).
While there was no immediate danger to the public (this is standard wording from the FAA to make the problem seem benign to the public, no matter how safety related the defect is, as is noted elsewhere on this site), Boeing was forced to recheck up to 200,000 bolts on the airplanes under production and spend millions of dollars to correct the problem. (This likely had a large part to do with his termination. As I have experienced myself, if you are an inspector and find a serious defect and the company has to spend any resources to fix it (not just "millions of dollars," as noted in the article), you become a target for harassment, retaliation, and yes, even termination. I have not covered in detail my management's Herculean effort (because they resorted to grasping at "imaginary straws" in this effort, they were so bent at retaliating against me with an unjust termination because I did not heed their wishes and rollerstamp fast enough for their liking) to CAM (Corrective Action Memo) me enough to terminate me some 6 to 12 months before they ultimately found a reason to terminate me for my attempt to bring their crimes to light, but I may cover it in the future.)
The International Aerospace Machinists District Lodge 751 filed a grievance on Grieser's behalf shortly after he was fired.
The union won an unemployment arbitration in November 1994, but Boeing appealed the decision to King County Superior Court (they were obviously out to make this inspector's life miserable).
In October 1995, the court ruled that Grieser was entitled to unemployment compensation. The union then pursued its original grievance with an outside arbitrator.
Union President Bill Johnson said the ruling is a major victory for the Machinists.
"The backbone of our union is our steward system, so when we lost Charlie it was a hit everybody was taking," Johnson said.
Grieser said he was happy to finally have the case behind him.
"This is a major win for all union stewards and inspectors," he said.
End of article.
But, alas, it was only a temporary win for inspectors. As my case shows, Boeing is using the same tactics to retaliate against inspectors today that go outside the company's flawed "ethics" program to get actual reform at the company. I didn't just cost the company "millions of dollars" to eliminate serious defects I found in their safety critical products as the inspector in the article above did. I went to the FAA and asked that they pull Boeing's Production Certificate (PC) after voluminously documenting "ad infinitum" valid reasons to do so, even though the FAA personnel I submitted my report to were already "on the Boeing team," (even while on the public payroll, before retiring to "quid pro quo" cushy Boeing jobs) ultimately proving themselves to be corrupt, and were not about to pull Boeing's PC no matter how far out of compliance I documented Boeing's quality system was, or take any other action against Boeing as a result of my reports that might be dangerous to their future employment prospects at Boeing, for that matter. Therefore, Boeing has a much bigger ax to grind against me as a result of this than the inspector they axed noted in the article.