In conjunction with the announced plans to move the two programs to Oklahoma, Boeing announced plans to lay off about ten percent of their total work force in the Long Beach area. Mark Bass, Boeing general manager of maintenance, modifications and upgrades, gave workers the news Monday. "Making a decision like this is never easy, but as we reviewed our anticipated operating costs for the next several years, it became clear that Boeing needs to take major actions on these programs in order to remain affordable for our customers," Bass said. "We remain committed to maintaining the excellent record of performance that our employees deliver for our U.S. Air Force B-1 and C-130 AMP customers during this transition."
Boeing says the reason they are moving the job to the Sooner state is to be “more competitive for their customers.” How did Oklahoma become ‘competitive?’ Senator President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, (R-OKC) says the reason is because the Republican led legislature in Oklahoma has reformed workers comp and tort reform and the people passed right to work. These three moves have made Oklahoma more business friendly and appealing to business.
“We knew the passage of comprehensive tort reform two sessions ago, and the progress we made in reforming our workers compensation system this past session would get the attention of the business community around the nation,” Coffee said. “Today’s announcement from Boeing that over 500 high-paying aeronautical jobs are moving from California to Oklahoma City is resounding affirmation of our work.”
I'm not sure about workers comp or tort reform, but Right to Work was very likely a factor in Boeing’s decision. In an October 30, 2009 Wall Street Journal article, Boeing picked South Carolina over North Carolina because South Carolina’s work force was non-union.
Right-to-work laws are statues enforced in twenty-two states, mostly in the southern or western U.S., allowed under provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibit agreements between trade unions and employers making membership or payment of union dues or "fees" a condition of employment, either before or after hiring. In other words, ‘complusionary union membership.’