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California officials bemoaning failure to snag Boeing plane deal

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POSTED January 5, 2014 9:36 p.m.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — California officials on Sunday said they were disappointed that the state failed to snag a coveted Boeing plane contract and must now ramp up efforts to replace jobs being phased out by the company.

Long Beach officials are worried about the anticipated loss of local jobs when Boeing ends its C-17 military cargo jet production line in 2015. The program employs about 3,000 workers, the Orange County Register reported.

“Long Beach needs to get busy trying to attract other businesses here,” Long Beach Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske told the newspaper. “We need to figure out what we need to do to replace Boeing.”

California is one of more than 20 states that moved to bid for work on Boeing’s 777X commercial plane. The bidding came to an end when Boeing machinists voted narrowly late Friday to approve a new labor contract that moves workers away from pensions. The move secured a deal to build the 777X in the Seattle area.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, said she was disappointed by the outcome, but that Long Beach proved how competitive it is by getting on a list of candidate cities for the project.

The 777X, an updated version of Boeing’s best-selling 777, is expected to carry as many as 400 passengers.

In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee praised the vote, which supporters said keeps thousands of well-paying jobs in the state and solidifies Boeing’s presence in the Seattle area, where the company built its first airplanes nearly a century ago.

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