Dozens of working Chicago residents marched to deliver an oversized letter to Boeing CEO James McNerney Jr. demanding no drastic cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security . McNerney is on the steering for the astroturf Fix the Debt Campaign, a project of the Commitee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Photographed outside Boeing Corporation Chicago Headquarters at 100 N. Riverside Plaza on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. . | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: January 30, 2013 6:25PM
A small group of protesters marched into the Boeing Co.’s headquarters Wednesday to deliver an oversized letter to its CEO. The demand: that the powerful company pay its fair share of taxes and refrain from cutting jobs and programs in the midst of the nation’s budget crisis.
Boeing CEO W. James McNerney, Jr., is on the CEO Steering Committee for The Fix the Debt Campaign, an anti-debt group based in Washington, D.C.
Protest leader Elizabeth Parisian is the policy director for Stand Up Chicago, the group that organized Wednesday’s protest, which drew about 30 participants. Parisian said she believes Boeing, along with other big companies, uses loopholes to gain corporate benefit and then saddles the public with job cuts that come with an attempt to balance the budget.
When protesters arrived at the Boeing headquarters Wednesday, security guards immediately rushed them outside the building and onto the sidewalk. Boeing didn’t take the protesters’ letter or send anyone to speak with them outside.
Parisian said Boeing’s status as a “mover and shaker” in Chicago’s business landscape makes the company a natural target in the protesters’ rallying cries for action and corporate responsibility.
“We’re calling on them and saying, ‘Look, if you really do want to solve these issues, one of the thing it starts with is corporate tax accountability,” Parisian, 32, said. “You can’t have special loophole after special loophole when you’re a highly profitable corporation and then say, ‘We’ve gotta balance the budget on the backs of working families.’ That’s not the answer.”
Boeing spokesman John Dern said the company pays its taxes “each and every year.” While the company is allowed to take certain deductions for research and development, he said it uses the money to open manufacturing facilities. Dern said Boeing added 3,000 jobs nationally in 2012.
“In terms of working to create jobs, the company’s certainly done that through its actions,” Dern said. “The deductions that we’re allowed to take are far from ‘loopholes.’ They have a beneficial impact on the economy in general.”