The Seattle Times reports that Patrick McKenna, director of Supply Chain Strategy and Supplier Management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, has urged suppliers to attend a Nov. 15 workshop in Chicago to learn how to do business in Mexico.
"Several of our suppliers have successfully set up factories in Mexico because of the numerous advantages that Mexico offers to aerospace suppliers," McKenna wrote in a letter dated Oct. 17. "Boeing will be sending several people to this event, and we wanted to inform our supply base of this opportunity."
The event's organizers will waive the $200 registration fees for Boeing suppliers, he said.
Tom Wroblewski, president of District 751 of the International Association of Machinists, reacted to the letter in political terms.
"We'd think that Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, as chairman of President Obama's council on exports, would be particularly sensitive to the importance of exporting American products, not jobs," said Wroblewski, via email. "We plan on talking to Boeing about this. We believe it is counterproductive to what we are trying to accomplish here."
Boeing spokesman Larry Wilson said "it's a matter of routine business" to keep the company's suppliers informed of opportunities to expand their capacity around the world.
American Industries Group, a private company that helps locate manufacturing operations in Mexico, is running the workshop.
It can build or lease facilities there for corporate clients and also offers administrative support including human resources, customs, accounting and environmental regulatory approval, according to workshop coordinator Myrna De Las Casas.
American Industries has helped more than 200 corporations get started in Mexico, "80 percent of them from the U.S.," she said.
Boeing started promoting the event just recently, De Las Casas said, and she expects some to join the 18 companies already signed up.