The Boeing Co. isn’t the first sharpie to show up in Chicago with a smooth patter and a suitcase filled with dreams to end up slinking out of town on a Greyhound bus.
Their departure is supposed to be some kind of insult. But remember who Boeing is. A fine piece Friday in the Sun-Times detailed Boeing’s departure. It mentioned their $1.2 billion first quarter loss but politely sidestepped the 737 Max disaster.
Remember? Boeing engineers tried modernizing an old plane design by spitting on their thumbs and smudging the computer code, ending up with some horrific glitch that sent one plane powering into the ground, killing 189 passengers. Sending Boeing into spasms of inertia and blame offloading for five, count ’em, five months until the same thing happened again, killing another 157 people, at which point Boeing mumbled, “Umm, yeah, well, OK maybe there’s a problem here ...”
Not the company we want to keep.
Given the blundering that Boeing embodies, who can even pretend their nesting here is some kind of civic adornment? Of course they prefer to be near Washington, D.C., close to the regulators and Justice Department officials who will be harrying them into eternity. Or should be.
Some of the 500 jobs at Boeing’s headquarters were lost in the pandemic, and some might stay when the headquarters moves. But even if they all vanished, 500 jobs is chicken feed. That’s one big law firm. Sidley Austin has almost 500 attorneys. Plus another 500 support staff. Status and number of employees do not go hand in hand.
Any idea who the biggest employer in Chicago is? You’ve got it: the federal government. Necessary, but nobody is thumping their chests saying “Chicago’s got 3,800 mail carriers ...”
Does anybody even care anymore what companies are headquartered here? Excepting the company they actually work for, and maybe not even that, now that we’ve become unmoored from our places of employment. When Bally snagged the Chicago casino, did anybody other than me think, “Oh, that’s so cool, because Bally is headquartered right here, in Chicago, where it was founded in 1932 ...”
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