Sunday, November 13, 2005

Trial Lawyers For Airbus

Boeing, a huge US exporter, is in a fight to the death with Euro-subsidized Airbus. Trial Lawyers have just taken $72.5 million of its assets, which means about $2 billion of future production and these parasites just ate thousands of jobs.

Boeing is a key US exporter:

...Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony before Congress yesterday that the U.S. economy is on ``relatively firm footing.'' Strength in exports from manufacturers such as airplane-maker Boeing Co. led some economists to raise growth estimates, and the dollar climbed to a nine-month high against the euro.

It has to invest every cent it has in new products and lower-cost production, so doesn't need this (WSJ subscription, my ellipsis and emphasis):

Boeing Co. has agreed to pay $72.5 million to thousands of women to settle a class-action action sex-discrimination lawsuit, according to documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

About $15 million will be deducted from the total settlement to cover attorneys' fees and other legal costs.

(What's left goes to)...more than 20,000 current and former female employees out of a potential pool of 29,000 said Boeing discriminated against them at Seattle-area plants between 1997 and 2000.

The lawyers argued for the socialist "equality of outcome" - groups of women must be paid the same as groups of men for doing "similar" jobs.

According to company documents obtained by the plaintiffs, women typically earned $1,000 to $2,000 less each year than men for similar jobs -- a disparity magnified over time by the company's policy of calculating pay raises based on an employee's salary.

In the real world, people in similar jobs get paid a wide range of salaries depending on their performance - skills, readiness to work long hours etc. Many employers find that women don't want to put long hours in, and so perform less well. An honest trial would have looked in detail at the performance reviews of each of the men and women involved. But of course it didn't - women, although over 50% of the population are deemed a minority, and the mere fact of them not getting the same pays means discrimination.

And note the weasel words that women "typically" got paid less - that means some got paid more.

Here's the cost. I look for a return on investments of at least 3, so $72.5 million should yield a return of $217.5 million. If Boeing's margin on commercial planes is 10%, it has to sell $2.175 billion of them to get that return. That's over 40 planes that - absent the $72.5 million - will now be built by Airbus.

On the bright side, the lawyers sharing their $15 million may fly back to their mansions in an Airbus that loses its tail-fin.