SEATTLE — Seattle City Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant told Boeing machinists her idea of a radical option, should their jobs be moved out of state
“The workers should take over the factories, and shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine,” Sawant announced to a cheering crowd of union supporters in Seattle’s Westlake Park Monday night.
This week, Sawant became Seattle’s first elected Socialist council member. She ran on a platform of anti-capitalism, workers’ rights, and a $15 per-hour minimum wage for Seattle workers.
On Monday night, she spoke to supporters of Boeing Machinists, six days after they rejected a contract guaranteeing jobs in Everett building the new 777X airliner for eight years, in exchange for new workers giving up their guaranteed company pensions.
Now Boeing is threatening to take those jobs to other states. “That will be nothing short of economic terrorism because it's going to devastate the state's economy,” she said.
Sawant is calling for machinists to literally take-possession of the Everett airplane-building factory, if Boeing moves out. She calls that "democratic ownership."
“The only response we can have if Boeing executives do not agree to keep the plant here is for the machinists to say the machines are here, the workers are here, we will do the job, we don't need the executives. The executives don’t do the work, the machinists do,” she said.
Sawant says after workers “take-over” the Everett Boeing plant; they could build things everyone can use.
“We can re-tool the machines to produce mass transit like buses, instead of destructive, you know, war machines,” she told KIRO 7.
Sawant says she was referring to “drones” when speaking of war machines. Still, she says even as they work on the lines, building airplanes daily, she believes Boeing workers are under siege.
“Workers have to realize, they have more power than they think,” she said.