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FAA Report Slams Boeing's Safety Culture as 'Inadequate and Confusing'

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On February 26, U.S. regulators released an assessment of Boeing's safety measurements and company culture. The report pressured the company since it had already dealt with the aftermath of the Alaska Airlines incident in January and the two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 involving the 737 MAX 8 jet. The expert panel stated, "A lack of awareness of safety-related metrics at all levels of the organization." (aeroxplorer.com) More...

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jmilleratp
jmilleratp 20
The FAA signed off on Boeing, but now find an "Inadequate and Confusing" Safety Culture? How about that.
21voyageur
21voyageur 17
Stepping back a second, may I suggest that this is all fueled by greed? Government ineptitude, (influence of lobbyists, etc.) is far from immune to the effects of greed. Plenty of blame to go around as the ugliness is exposed. IMHO, Boeing is an excellent example of what can happen when financial greed of this magnitude is allowed to run unfettered. Sad really and a stain on the global reputation of the USA. It can and I am certain, does, do better.
pcaronlpcaron
Phil Caron 24
Bean counting executives at Boeing have the same mentality that ruined MD. You cannot expect Chicago bean counters to understand engineering principles, especially when they involve safety. To them safety employees who perform proper inspections and safety protocols are deadwood. Chicago's answer was to cut safety inspectors to the bare minimum as they do not, in their short-sighted minds, contribute to the bottom line. Chicago thinks it is cheaper to payoff grieving relatives than to absorb the cost of sufficient quality control employees. Yes, they are idiotic and will one day wonder where they went wrong when Boeing goes bust and blame everyone else for the consequences.
PDLanum
Philip Lanum 4
You mean Arlington VA. Boeing moved the headquarters to VA some time ago. Only holdouts left in Chicago.
DaneZ
Dane Zuber 1
This is quite correct. It is common knowledge that the decline began when HQ moved to Chicago a long time ago.
w7psk
Ricky Scott 3
It started when McDac bought Boeing with Boeing's money.
a1brainiac
a1brainiac 8
When upper management at Boeing only cares about is giving themselves multi million dollar bonuses for "a job well done".....quality will always suffer
GreggB57
Gregg Bender 9
I love the comments blaming the unions for everything, not mentioning that it's management's job to negotiate the contracts with the union. I have no sympathy for management. They need to get their ---- together instead of blaming the employees for everything that goes wrong.
And remember, these are the "great professional" employees that they brag about in their pressers...
BillOverdue
Bill Overdue -4
C'mon, you don't think Boeing going to say they have the most overpaid union workers in America, on national TV, do you? Obviously, that's not what they think, and their products are showing it, no?
TimDyck
Tim Dyck 3
Safety culture is an interesting term. What I have found after 40 years of working in various industries is that safety culture is a top down thing, the people at the top preach it but then push for things to get done faster and cheaper and safety and quality work are the first thing to gets tossed out the window. A safe work place only exists if it is practiced instead of just talked about and a safe workplace will always produce a better quality product because the workers are not focused on surviving the day and can take pride in their work.
DonKrupicka
Don Krupicka 3
Back in the 1990's Boeing worked hard throughout the company to instill Total Quality Commitment (TQC). IMO, some execs were brought in to figure out how to raise profits. They over did it on outsourcing some key manufacturing processes and craftsmen/women as well and threw out TQC (and now it shows). Again, IMO some of these execs came from manufacturing, like PC's, probably figuring, just get it out the door, make the delivery and if there is a problem, we'll deal with it with a trouble call or maintenance advisory. Try that at 30K feet in the air. Boeing, it's time to reel this in and get back to basics and quality. If quality isn't the highest for a product like this, then no customers, no company.
alanrimer
Alan Rimer 3
I wish I ad his address so I could join him in working to get Boeing management back to its engineering roots instead of being run by a bunch of greenshades
bknight1
Bruce Knight 3
Is that an A380 in the photo in this article, labeled “Boeing’s Production facility”? If so, no wonder Boeing are having problems…
travistx
travistx 1
No, it's a 747 as seen through a fisheye lens. Notice that the top row of windows only extends back to the wing root, and the "hump" blends into the fuselage at about the trailing edge of the wing.
PDLanum
Philip Lanum 2
And 747's are no longer manufactured.
Go figure.
bknight1
Bruce Knight 1
Thanks for the correction.
patpylot
patrick baker 6
the company pays as is their task as they collect revenues. THe union, well aware of the company's history of possible maltreatment,as well as labor treatment by management in america, bands together for mutual protections and negotiations. Strikes makes a point if needed. Any body who says unions do not provide fir their members should read more and post less: 40 hour work week, vacation times, sick leave paid, pensions, etc. If syou don't like unions, give all those bennies back and be quiet
666adt
Andrew Turnbull 6
Your comment implies that all unions always "provide for their members". Your references to certain benefits are historical. What's it that financial firms say? "Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance" or whatever? Well, the same principle applies to unions. What they achieved in the past does not necessarily mean they serve any positive purpose in the present.
TimDyck
Tim Dyck 0
Unions used to do all that but they have turned into political machines that use member’s dues to push agendas that have nothing to do with those members. During the pandemic did the unions stand up for workers let go because they didn’t want the vaccine? No but they spent a lot of money to campaign for Biden. Now befor anyone jumps on this because I said Biden I would be just as disappointed if they spent their dues campaigning for Trump. Unions are supposed to use that money to help their members not promote politicians that half of those members will likely be voting against.
lanewsjr
William Lane 2
Interesting comments and article. Lots of management saying the "right" things, but having spent 40 yrs in engineering (non aviation) and worked with a union all that time - words are cheap. True cooperation is easy to say and hard to get, management can work for years and suddenly the union wants a strike because of economic conditions not the fault of company or worker. There is no limit to short sightedness of either side. Contributory communications, and cooperative acceptance, or a new CEO shatters the tone. Common goals have to be walked, not just talked. Working together is ultimately about the people at the interface on the shop floors. Both sides will have to fight their own structures to make it work. I wish Boeing good luck, but it will take a decade to truly achieve the required balance.

Common goals, including greed, have to be addressed. Greed is simply competition with a monetary goal. They have to face their common opponent, themselves and Airbus included.
NeilPostlethwaiteItsAllBroken
Neil Postlethwaite 2
Other than US Union bashing as default corporate behavior - I don’t see Boeing as being cash poor in regards to wages and prospect. It also does not demonstrate the aggressiveness of Starbucks/Amazon .. but it also does not have the minimum wage staff issue either.

Its problem is nickel and diming of production and safety to drive profitability. The McDonnelisation in of the business.
wd73383
WD Rseven 2
Well, if the FAA had been doing its job, this would have been fixed a long time ago.
jackpoole
Jack Poole 3
Boy that's the pot calling the kettle black
paultrubits
paul trubits 1
In 2009 the FAA granted Boeing the ability to self-certify. The Max showed the FAA that they were not capable of doing that. The FAA is pissed(rightfully so). Doesn't bet on any new Boeing aircraft any time soon.
paultrubits
paul trubits 1
Don't: sorry
usrepeaters
Rob Palmer 1
When I worked at Boeing, Seattle, not too many years ago, it still had the "old culture". Bill Boeing was a Yale grad, and the Seattle culture consisting of very loyal Scandinavian help, had built-in quality. Moving to Chicago, and later Arlington, can break up a thing like this. Looks like it did! C'mon Harvard Business School; let's focus on this case, and hang on it so everyone can remember for a long time. I've studied cost accounting, and I know what's involved.
CHRISMORGAN
CHRIS MORGAN 1
The production/safety/quality standards that are required by Boeing are set by their management and any employee would be expected to meet them. I have not seen any suggestion that union members are being supported by their union for knowingly flouting this requirement.
The FAA has demanded Boeing provide an action plan addressing the current quality control issues. The demand is made to Boeing management, not to the unions, and it is encumbent on the management to do what their title suggests, and manage the required action. Clearly a good working relationship with it's workforce and unions greatly enhances the probability of a speedy solution.
The bottom line is that, if Boeing is going to recover, management have to produce a workable plan and the entire workforce have to get behind it.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

xtoler
Larry Toler 20
The company could care less about the employees. Without the union (I'm not big on unions either but sometimes they are a necessary evil) Boeing would pay their employees the least they could as long as they get the job done as quickly as possible. Work ethic is pretty much out the windows these days, as the top management at Boeing sure doesn't have it.
ghstark
Greg S 9
There is nothing in the FAA report to suggest that. There is nothing in the story to suggest that. It's hard to say how your comment has anything to do with this story at all. Can you explain how 'the union' is responsible for any of the safety problems at Boeing?

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

ghstark
Greg S 14
You have no, none, nada, zilch information that this is entirely or even mostly the fault of a "bad employee". However, we do know that Boeing has been desperately pushing to get 737s out the door. And, after this incident, they have slowed the work down. We also know that the biggest financial and safety failing for Boeing, the MCAS debacle, was entirely a management-driven disaster.
cyberjet
cyberjet 2
There was a day when Boeing was essentially a family run business and the management / worker relationship was business-like and cordial. All of that went out the window when the bean counters who destroyed McDonnell Douglas took over. All that said, unions have nothing to do with the mess the company finds itself in today. There is not one shred of evidence that a "protected bad worker" caused any of the issues Boeing has faced recently. Unions don't establish a safety culture - companies do. The union isn't out on the shop floor turning wrenches and hammering rivets - the workers are, and they will only function as well as the system within which they work. As the last five years has proven, Boeing's system is largely broken - maybe to the point of being beyond repair.
PDLanum
Philip Lanum 2
"Boeing was essentially a family run business"
That is a crock. William Boeing left the company in 1934. It never was a "family business".
xtoler
Larry Toler 0
All or most union workers are like that? Were you union or management?
avionik99
avionik99 0
Aircraft maintainer, Union member for over 40 years. Anyone who has worked in a larger union run shop knows exactly what I am talking about!
dkenna
dkenna 3
Just out of curiosity, you say you’ve been in the Union over 40 years. Would you prefer working for a company with no union?
avionik99
avionik99 4
That depends on what state you're in. A lot of states protect you even better than the unions. California is imposing a $20 min wage, benefits that are forced that are better than union negotiated benefits in many career areas. State short term Unemployment goes on for 1 year. It goes on and on.
The last job I had was for a contractor for the Government. The government imposed so many rules on wages and benefits the union was really a waste of money. That union hosed us all over our retirement plan big time!
dkenna
dkenna 5
I think it is fair to say some unions are better than others, while they all have pros and cons. However, just the need for unions in the first place proves to me management will not always do what is right or in the best interests of the worker over profits. A bad union is the result of bad leadership within that union. It goes both ways.
BillOverdue
Bill Overdue -8
The need for unions has "long since" come and gone. To suggest a teamster is a more skilled employee is simply a matter of training and nothing more. With current labor laws, OSHA and all of the safety organizations, unions are simply not worth the money the employee has to spend on them!
dkenna
dkenna 3
Ask an Amazon distribution center employee if they agree with this.
BillOverdue
Bill Overdue -5
They don't have to work there! Simple as that! Ask a Ford or GM employee whose labor just adds $25k to an already inferior automobile!
dkenna
dkenna 3
So, by your logic, you are a supporter of sweat shops. You for repealing child labor laws to??

And no one is forcing you to buy their product. At least the people at Ford and GM have protections in place.
ghstark
Greg S 3
Really? Because you worked in a union, you *know* this door plug blowout is the fault of a bad employee protected by a union?

You don't know any such thing.
Nooge
Nooge 2
Bill was Overdue for a partisan inappropriate rant underscoring his unhappiness with America
patpylot
patrick baker 9
unions, irrational, self centered in their own way,provide a balance to autocratic management regemes,
btweston
btweston 1
Your comment is aggressively ignorant.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

4gloriajohns
Gloria Johns 0
Have you noticed how unpopular you are on this forum?
TimDyck
Tim Dyck 2
This forum isn't a popularity contest. I disagree with Bill more often then I agree with him but I am a strong believer in free speech which means that everyone is free to have an opinion. If we only allow free speech to people we agree with then it's not really free speech.
4gloriajohns
Gloria Johns 1
It has nothing to do with his opinions, per se, and whether or not anyone agrees with them. The issue is the tangents he goes off on that have nothing to do with the subject at all. Free speech means he can say what he wants, but there are still consequences like appearing stupid, ill-informed or bigoted and being told as much.
bd236
bob fuoss -1
Don't blame Boeing. They hire the plane assembled by a union. One bad employee didn't do his job and the door plug blew out. The union is protecting him. Put a bolt in, spin on a castle nut, tighten, put in a cotter pin, spread the cotter. Done. Do this 4 times. Done. In a air conditioned- heated building. Probably texting or u-tubing on his phone or whatever. Glad he doesn't tighten wing to fuselage bolts

My local Ford dealer, every new vehicle had to be checked, like gear boxes, front and rear differentials, transfer cases, manual transmissions were usually empty. This was 50 years ago. So hard to put in the oil. Yeah, right. Ford shouldn't have to have someone watching. Bad employees. Big pensions
dkenna
dkenna 3
Don’t blame Boeing?? Hmm. Well; considering the problems go much deeper than just one “bad employee” failing to tighten a nut properly, I’d argue Boeing management is completely to blame. It is no secret their QC has gone out the open door plug. Tools lost in aircraft, delivery delays, and not to mention a few planes taking nosedives full of pax. But in true fashion, lets not blame anyone or hold them accountable, right?

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