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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  January 17, 2015 12:30pm-1:01pm EST

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they were implanted. for mr. wang recovery will be slow. many are watching closely hoping for the cure. >> for more on the news go to grammy. >> hi i'm lisa fletcher and you're in the stream. 787 dreamliner, fears from the airlines's own workers, caught on camera. my digital producer and co-hose,
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wajahat ali, is here. the film raises a lot of important questions about the sphaifn. 787. also poshts questions important questions online. >> here is zephyr. in the professional in the field of aviation and commercial aircraft let me say the boeing dreamliner is an absolute safe plane to operate. almost 2 million americans per day boarded airplanes, what has the airline industry done to earn your trust? on google plus, penniess nothing at all. >> i bet penny doesn't fly much. >> the boeing 787, was temporarily grounded but is there more on the story? al jazeera's investigative
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count, produced broken dreams. a study on, some factory members, based on what are they've seen, they wouldn't fly. will jordan has more. >> this is a factory in the u.s. state of south carolina. workers here in charleston are assembling the company's flagship product, the 787 dreamliner. some have little faith in the plane they build. >> would you fly in one? >> no. >> no. >> would you fly in one of these planes? >> not really. >> reporter: of 15 workers asked randomly, ten said they would not fly on the dreamliner. >> i wouldn't fly on one of these planes because i see the quality (bleep) going down around here. >> reporter: an employee captured the footage after contacting al jazeera to tell us
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he had serious concerns about what he was seeing. at his request we changed his voice. >> with all the problems reported on the 787, there's 90% that's getting swept away. hushed up. it's an us iceberg. >> clearly, there's a lot to unpack here so let's get started. joining us on set mark schaeffer, a senior producer for al jazeera's investigative unit and director of broken dreams the boeing 787. out of newton, massachusetts, john golia, former director of the ntsb, the independent agency that investigates every aviation extent in the united states. currently john consults airnls airlines on safety practices. long before you embarked on this documentary what prompted you to do the film? >> well, after the faa grounded
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the aircraft because of two battery fires that happened in january 2013. had never grounded a fleet an entire fleet of new aircraft 787 in this case. will wanted to know what was going on, was something wrong with this plane? he began digging into it and finding there was a much bigger story beyond just the batteries. >> how did you get to that point? at first blush, they looked and said the batteries caught on fire, the plane is back up in the air, all's good. >> right. >> what were some of the most interesting things you found that kept you on the trail for a year with this story? >> well, about the third day into the project for myself, i joined about six months after will began doing his investigation. i met will in seattle, washington and we met with a group of employees of boeing corporation who make that aircraft. my introduction to the story. i asked them at one point would you fly on the aircraft?
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this is months after the airplane have been put back in the air because the battery problem is supposedly fixed. about half them said they would not. that told me immediately that there was something other than the battery that was raising concerns within the boeing workforce. the people who seemed to know that plane best of all. i didn't know much about the planes at all, but when we began digging into it it took a very long time, a year. >> we have our online community third host of the show we see sometimes lisa they usually tweet in using the #ajam stream. has the failure come from a new model in employing contractors? and specifically there has been some discussion that boeing has changed some practices after the 97 merger with mcdonnell dug last, what is your short answer? >> the short answer is yes after 1997 boeing merged with
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mcdonnell douglas, another large aerospace company. and focused on investors and shareholder return, less on engineering, and in order to keep cost low on the development of their 787 aircraft which came along a few years later and convince the board this new boeing to green light this aircraft they came up with an unprecedented way of building an aircraft, to outsource not just the manufacturing but the design of the parts to dozen and dozen and dozens of companies around the world. boeing was unable to make what in many cases is an unprecedented aircraft in terms of new technology. >> john, you're a former ntsb board member. you saw mark and will's documentary. did it raise ongoing issues for you about the safety of the 787 aircraft or are you looking at
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this thinking all this was already resolved? >> well, i'm thinking that the issue of drug use, that why haven't -- that we haven't touched yet in the workplace is far more concerning to me than what we have identified so far as quality issues. one of the things that we shouldn't lose sight of is the fact these airplanes are over built and over engineered in the first place. there isn't a process you go through where you're making something that you don't have variations in it. sometimes you're doing better than it's supposed to be made to and sometimes you're dipping below. that's because of human beings in the process. there are those variables. now boeing company has been going through a lot of changes since the mcdonnell douglas merger and people resist change seattle. there are a lot of people that are disgruntled if you will that
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are vocal about the changes and if they don't like them. but there is no indication so far that those changes have really caused any serious safety problems. >> mark i want to talk about some of the criticisms that boeing has of the documentary and john just mentioned something, disgruntled employees. i think i've got their actual statement. it's unfortunate that the producers of the program have distorted the facts and rely on statements of people who are blaming the company. how many employees are we talking about, you have been doing investigations your whole career. did you get a sense that a lot of this was potentially sour grapes? >> no not at all. there is definitely a divide within boeing born of this merger, heritage or legacy boeing employees and the newer employees or the ones that came after the merger.
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and the legacy boeing engineers and machinists regret these changes and see them in the workplace and they're unhappy with them. that doesn't mean they're not genuinely concerned about what they're witnessing. this notion that a disgrunt led person lacks credibility when the watergate affair telling woodward and bernstein, he was disgruntled. you wouldn't have concerns to raise, i reject on its face the idea if somebody is unhappy with what they're observing in the workplace they somehow lack credibility. i think the best sources for journalists are disgruntled. >> and some authority raised
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with you either anonymously or in advertise guise, we'll get to that in just a moment. reactions of items in the investigation. you may see quality being sacrificed for the bottom line up ahead. i see quality going down around here. >> call amy smith at work >> when we're behind the wheel >> basically we just don't multi-task as well as we think... >> are we focused on what's ahead? >> what could those misses mean? >> distracted driving... the new road hazard >> i'm driving like a maniac >> you're distracted... >> techknow's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> this is my selfie... what can you tell me about my future? >> can effect and surprise us... >> don't try this at home >> techknow... where technology meets humanity... only on al jazeera america
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>> tuesday. from race relations to foreign policies, terrorism and the economy. >> if this congress wants to help, work with me. >> ali velshi kicks off our
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special state of the union coverage at 7:00. >> we'll take an in-depth look at our nation's financial future. >> then john seigenthaler breaks down the issues. >> we need to know what's going on in our backyard. >> plus, objective analysis and live reports from across the nation and reaction from around the world. the state of the union address. special coverage begins tuesday, 7:00 eastern. right here on al jazeera america. >> unimaginable. that we could be three years late, have a fleet grounding. >> they're short changing the engineering process . to meet a schedule. >> broken dreams the boeing 787. exploring the problems with the dreamliner 787. spent 32 years at the boeing company as an engineer. former president of the boeing
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engineers union. thanks for being here. in the film you seemed concerned about the protection schedule. you are an engineer. clearly there are ways of doing quality. what is attention? >> with the 787 what got my attention is they were putting schedule and cost above everything else. and the heritage point that i had hired onto, you always would work for quality. and to do the engineering right. and then the schedule would, we would work massive overtime hours to make the schedule as president of the union i became concerned when i was being approached by employees, who were on the 787 program, people i didn't even know but they would recognize me from my picture in the union
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publications and they would stop me at the grocery store at best buy you name it, i was being stopped by people i had no idea who they were, they would introduce themselves as boeing employees and tell me where they worked and they addressed concerns with me that they had on the project they said my supervisor isn't listening to me, i'm not allowed to bring problems. >> isn't that typical of employees complaimg to their head of -- complaining to the head of their union? >> no. >> you were head of the engineering union i would think you would get that all the time. >> no i didn't. the only time i would get specific complaints about a program was when the employees didn't people that they were being listened to by their first level supervisor. that's typical of boeing, first lever supervisors are where you take all of your problems. i don't think this is right, this process is not working, whatever the issue is, we would tend to keep the problems of a program within the program.
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we didn't you know put them out to the world and we would just address -- because i was on various programs and those problems that we'd address or that we'd come across they stayed within the program . and so i wasn't even on the 787 program and i'm hearing boat loads of issues. knopf not on any other programs, not to the level that i was getting complaints and issues brought up to me by about the 787. these employees were genuinely worried because no one was living to them. they saw the train wreck coming down the pike. you can't wait until the problems are embedded, you want to fix them early on not later. and they were definitely feeling -- their supervisors were saying don't even bring me these problems because i can't do anything about it because i'm not going to be the supervisor that stops this schedule or slows this schedule down.
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don't bring it to me. >> sint we asked cynthia, we asked our community, what do you think about outsourcing to nonunion it's about time, they're outdated dinosaurs. instead of lazy union people. cynthia, why is the outsourcing of critical manufacturing problematic to consumers? judge well, there's various issues here. number 1 is, i don't agree, the machinist union at the boeing company is the best and they are not lazy people and they provide their own training of their workers. and they apprentice their workers so you've got senior level machinists doing this complicated work and they're training up the next generation of machinists. so there is a lot of apprenticing going on. they have their own internal training and i've never seen
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them sitting around being lazy.they work their butts off. the outsourcing the boag company has very strict standards. i had brought this up in a renton town hall. we were taking vendors and suppliers we always used, and we were putting them autonomous, on their own as far as engineering and schedule and getting things done. whereas a vendor or supplier they called the sots. shots. they are not boeing. none of these partners had the same quality or history as the boeing company. there is only one boeing company. and if you know the boeing company would have been the one that should have been designing these parts or giving them to suppliers and vendors who we had strict control over and could watch the process and make sure everything was done right.
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this is the problem with the 787, it was partners not suppliers. >> i want to shift from the outsourcing back to the other boeing plant which is in south carolina. boeing we invited them to come on the program and they declined but they did provide us a statement. they responded to the film and they said airplanes whether delivered from south carolina or washington meet the highest safety and quality standards that are verified through robust test verification and inspection process. i want to put that in context for people who have not seen the film. there were questions raised in the film about whether the quality control coming out of the south carolina plant was equal to that coming out of the everett, washington plant. john aren't quality control standards the same everywhere, out of everett, south carolina or any town, u.s.a? >> the process is supposed to be the same. the things that you look at, the methods you use, the tooling you use, to check, is all supposed to be the same.
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so if there's different quality coming out of the different plants that should be a concern to management. and listening to cynthia a few minutes ago and also listening to one of the reporters earlier, one of the things that comes out pretty loud and clear, is the employees dissatisfaction with not being listened to. which always leads to a disgrund led employee and public disclosures. so boeing's management has a responsibility to their employees to listen to their concerns and address them. and that's clear, that from what's been said here, that that hasn't happened. now, how much of that's going to equate to an unsafe product at the end of the day, from afar, i don't think any of us can say one way or the other that it's going to definitely lead to an unsafe product. but the drug use in the facility is a concern. and if -- you know no matter
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process. if you -- you go into toulouse where airbus is built and you can get wine in the cafeteria. in the u.s. we would not find that acceptable but that is normal in toulouse and other places in europe. so there are so many variables in this story that you guys have uncovered that it is really difficult to bring it to a conclusion. and to point the finger and say this is bad and this is going to cause a negative outcome. >> john you mentioned drug use. a worker was recorded discussing drug use among boeing employees on some of the undercover video included in the film. take a listen. >> let's talk a little bit more about this idea of drug use on the floor.
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the number of people that raiseit, during this interview. >> we -- we had an employee approach us, okay, we had been doing work in south carolina trying to figure out what's going on in that plant. there had been publicly reported in the seattle times problems in the plant that had been resolved in everett once the planes had been transferred in that facility and got us interestin what was going on down there. an employee approached us out of the blue, said he had to get something off his chest. he took a camera into the plant. we heart from three four five people, maybe 5'6" seven people, who confirmed in conversation with him, yes, drugs are being used in the plant, cocaine painkillers, you can get good weed in the plant, you can go buy it, cocaine, all right?
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so these were allegations, that this was going on and this is not wine, okay? whatever you think about a nice glass of merlot at lunch cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycontin, these drugs were very different. that's what this man alleged and that's what the other workers discussed with him. >> on that note i want to take a break. i want to thank you or guest, cynthia coal. government to corporate >> sunday night. >> 140 world leaders will take the podium. >> get the full story. >> there is real disunity in the security council. >> about issues that impact your world. >> infectious diseases are a major threat to health. >> "the week ahead". sunday 8:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
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>> welcome back. we're discussing the new documentary out of al jazeera's investigative unit called broken dreams the boeing 787.
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it raises quality concerns over the dreamliner, politicians, regulators and the industry. waj, you spent time examining the relationships between big industry and government. >> that's right, lisa, speaking to advocates about the possible consequences of the government to corporate revolving door. >> every single day about 8 million of us fly in one of these. as airline passengers we make compromises on luggage leg room, but one thing we don't compromise on, our safety. the new al jazeera documentary broken dreams highlights the safety concerns surrounding boeing's commercial airplane the 787 dreamliner. the film also highlights the close relationship between some government regulators and industry. in pogue's case, the -- in
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boeing's case, the manager responsible for giving the ok is representing the manufacture, washington, d.c. says the consumers. >> this is definitely a conflict of interest. those who are overseeing the safety of american airline passengers should not be thinking that they're going to be going to the airline industry after their service, their public service. length. if the faa is keeping the industry's interest above passengers safety, then we're going to be seeing very weak and ineffective safety regulations and that's got to be a concern for anybody flying. >> joining us now is craig holman, with a consumer advocacy organization. craig it mentions a key figure in the documentary, ali bahrami. in that role he signed off on the dreamliner batteries, he
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later signed them back into the air, after the airline was grounded. and he retired and was vice president of the aerospace organization. and has being lobbied in the legislature for more aerospace tri freedom. >> it may be common but doesn't make it any less alarming. this is a typical case of one of the most pernicious and effective forms of influence peddling on capitol hill. what we've seen is boeing and the faa develop a very close relationship that does put a risk on passenger travel on boeing air crafts .
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the revolving door works two different ways. first of all you have the corporation or the airline industry trying the get their friends on the faa in key positions. and that's called regulatory capture. that's the company taking over those who are supposed to oversee the company . then you have the regular revolving door, where key officials can get a lucrative job with boeing if they play nice. and this is a story about that type of relationship. >> i would take great exception to what he just said, all right? where they would say beforehand that they're going to give you a job. i find that offensive. on behalf of people that work in federal government and who have left and changes jobs. got my blood pressure up today thought it was going to be a nice calm day.
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>> this is how it works. >> john does it raise questions for you regarding consumer safety, that is one of the questions that craig raised. >> let me say this to you. there are occasions where that expertise that that person has needs to go either into the public side, or into the private side. we see it in europe and i've seen it in europe firsthand where people that work for airbus will take a leave of absence for two or three years and go into the government to oversee the products and the industry they just came from. now you're saying if that's bad there's no ethics, there's no morals in these people. i find most people in aviation industry have high regard for the jobs that they have. you heard it earlier. on the whistle blowers. >> i'm going to have to end you there because we are unfortunately out of time. thanks to mark, john, craig and cynthia. you can catch the documentary broken dreams the boeing 787 on al jazeera america at the time
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times listing on your screen. >> troops on the streets of belgium cities for the first time in decades