California is among a number of states trying to woo production of Boeing's 777X airliner, NBC4 confirmed Tuesday.
The scramble to secure what's being called a "game-changer" to Southern California's dwindling aerospace industry began after union workers in Puget Sound, Wash., rejected a contract offer in November that would have cut pension and health benefits.
NBC4 also confirmed Tuesday that Long Beach's C-17 plant, scheduled to close in 2015, is included in the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (CO-Biz)'s proposal.
“Based on our skilled workforce, existing manufacturing base and targeted business incentives, California is in a strong position to compete," Mike Rossi, Gov. Jerry Brown's senior advisor for jobs and business development said in a statement.
"We will continue to work closely with the Legislature, local officials and Boeing to bring new jobs and investment to California.”
The governor's proposal is the first concrete piece of hope for long-time Long Beach Boeing workers like George Burden who said he can retire now, but wants to stay on to help make 777X production a reality in Long Beach.
"To be able to create the legacy and have more jobs come down here would be wonderful," he said, standing in front of Boeing's C-17 plant in Long Beach, where he has worked since 1978.
The facility is scheduled to close in 2015 due to lack of orders for C-17's. Union representatives, like Burden and Stan Klemchuk are still working to save that program and push for the 777X.
"We had a chance to get the 737 max, nothing came out of that," Klemchuk said. "We had a chance to get the 767 work a few years back and that never panned out. Once again, this is the first program we've ever seen that we actually believe we have a chance to secure some of that work."
Several other states, including Washington, have also submitted proposals.
Long Beach Councilwoman Gerri Schipske, who represents District 5 where Boeing's facility sits, said California, and specifically Long Beach, just makes sense.
"We have a port, we have access to rail. They have all the connections they need," Schipske said. "They have a willing and ready work force for years. We have all the ingredients. They just need to stay here."
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