This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 3, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Welcome, everybody. I’m Neil Cavuto coming to you from the beautiful city of Chicago, where we’re taking a look at the last 15 years, and realizing that my fake hair has consistently remained fake- looking all that time.
Here’s a guy, though, who knows no meaning of the word. He’s probably one of the most respected CEOs on the planet. He heads Boeing. You have probably heard a thing or two about him, and you probably know he doesn’t talk to the press that often, but we saw him passing by, and we tackled the head of Jim McNerney, the heading of Boeing, and we’re delighted to have him with us.
Jim, very good to see you. Thank you very much for coming.
JIM MCNERNEY, CEO, BOEING: Great to be here, Neil.
CAVUTO: We ended with Rick Perry among the series of folks we were chatting with. And one of his views, Jim, has been you know what? I believe in right to work. I believe that unions shouldn’t necessarily -- even though he says he’s not anti-union -- shouldn’t dictate what a company can and can’t do and where it can and can’t expand its businesses, as you were you were trying to do and are trying to do in South Carolina.
Is that your Holy Grail right now?
MCNERNEY: Well, I think, listen, we work with union and non- union populations. But we reserve the right to place work where it makes our company most competitive.
And right now, we’re embroiled -- as you’re alluding, we’re embroiled in a little bit of an administrative procedure with the NLRB, who feels that we shouldn’t have the right to put work in South Carolina, which we fundamentally disagree with.
CAVUTO: Well, the talk is that before it even gets to a judge to decide, that there’s going to be a settlement and that you will strike a deal and that McNerney is going to strike a deal. Will you?
MCNERNEY: We will not strike a deal that violates the fundamental principles of the management and shareholders of Boeing, placing work where it makes the company it most competitive. So, not going to violate any principle...
CAVUTO: Particular crowd is impressed with that.
MCNERNEY: Yes. Yes.
CAVUTO: But your concern is if the NLRB wins at this, then it’s going to handicap not only companies like yours that want to expand in right-to-work states or elsewhere, but all companies, right?
CAVUTO: That’s the gist of it?
MCNERNEY: Yes. I think there was a recent survey, I think it was NAM, where...
CAVUTO: National Association of Manufacturers.
MCNERNEY: The National Association of Manufacturers -- that indicated that 60 percent of American companies feel the chill you’re talking about, sort of restrains decision-making while this is all gummed up...
CAVUTO: Well, are they privately egging you on? Or what are you hearing? I know you can’t divulge those conversations.
MCNERNEY: No. I think a lot of people agree with the principle that I just espoused, which is it’s all about competitiveness. Think about what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the 787 Dreamliner, arguably a symbol of America’s global competitiveness. Eighty percent of these will be sold outside the United States.
It represents the cutting edge of any kind of technology that relates to aerospace. And we’re being told we can’t place the work where it makes us most competitive and generates jobs because we’re exporting to other parts of the world. And it’s a little bit crazy.
CAVUTO: But their argument is the success of the Dreamliner and its rapid rollout right now is the result of a unionized work force. You say what?
MCNERNEY: Well, unions, like I said to you before, play an important role in our company. OK? And sure, union labor has had a lot to do, a very a lot to do with the success of our company. That doesn’t mean that in the face of a more globally competitive world, as we get bigger and need more diversity, we need to find places where things are cheaper to do as well as high quality, that doesn’t mean that we don’t go where it makes sense.
CAVUTO: So this isn’t your way of giving unions a Trojan horse, which you did in South Carolina is a sign of the Boeing to come, in other words, it will slowly peel off its union force, hire many more non-union workers and stick a fork in them?
MCNERNEY: Listen, the same union that we’re dealing with in Seattle, that we work with day to day as a matter of fact, we sponsored and worked with them for a new bargaining unit in another part of the country during the same year we decided we wanted to move to South Carolina.
We work both sides of the street. It’s all about the competitiveness of our company. It’s all about what’s best for our employees and what’s best for America at the end of the day.
CAVUTO: Are you of the opinion we will slip into something bad here, a recession or worse?
MCNERNEY: I don’t see that, quite frankly. I mean, there are issues. Europe is the most troublesome, because you’re at the end of the debt chain. You’re into sovereign debt.
MCNERNEY: I think there is a lack of confidence. I think Washington, the super committee, needs to get something done just to restore our confidence in the political process. And real estate and construction has really not participated. And they usually drive these recoveries. But the rest of us look pretty good.
CAVUTO: Jim, thank you again. You made the anniversary very special. We appreciate that.
MCNERNEY: Congratulations on 15 years.
CAVUTO: Thank you very much. Do you think my hair still looks fake, by the way?
MCNERNEY: Fantastic. Not from here.
CAVUTO: Jim McNerney, the man who heads up Boeing.