Fri, Oct 05, 2007
Alabama Senator Objects To Contention Alabama Is "Risky" Place
To Build Military Aircraft
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has a bone to pick with
In a letter to Boeing CEO James McNerney, the gentleman from
Tuscaloosa says he's sharing his "disbelief and profound
disappointment" at statements from Boeing representatives at a
recent Air Force Association conference -- disparaging remarks
about his home state.
Boeing is locked in a long-running, bitter competition with
Northrop Grumman and EADS North America for a mammoth contract to
build new refueling tankers for the USAF. The Northrop team
proposes to build those aircraft in Mobile, AL, if it gets the
Boeing representatives, who want that contract every bit as much
as the Northrop team, say the USAF should be concerned about
Alabama's lack of aircraft industries.
That makes Shelby hot under the collar. He tells AL.Com the
Boeing remarks are "ignorant and unfounded."
After all, Sen. Shelby points out, Boeing itself employs 2,800
workers in the Huntsville area alone.
"What has changed in the last four years that has so drastically
altered your perception?" Shelby writes in his letter to McNerney.
"I would hope that you would disavow the offensive remarks about
Mobile and that in the future you will ensure that your company
avoids publicly demeaning Alabama's highly qualified workforce,
including your own."
This is the sound of a Boeing spokesperson back-peddling: The
remarks, he says, "were intended to describe the technical and
schedule risk associated with setting up any new assembly operation
versus using an existing and proven assembly line."
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