Kshama Sawant, who earlier this month became the first self-identified Socialist to be elected to the Seattle City Council in more than a century, defended her call to Boeing workers to take over the company’s Seattle factory and accusing the company of “economic terrorism.”
“The point is, Boeing has gotten enormous — tens of billions — of handouts over the last several decades,” Sawant told KIRO-TV in an interview aired on Thursday. “They are once again — it is not the first time and it won’t be the last — once again holding the Boeing workers, but the entire economy of the state of Washington hostage.”
Sawant, who was leading in the Nov. 12 election before incumbent Richard Conlin conceded, was quoted as saying during a rally in support of Boeing machinists on Monday that for the company to consider leaving the area to pursue building its new 777X airliner “will be nothing short of economic terrorism because it’s going to devastate the state’s economy.”
The company began openly speculating about leaving the Washington state area after 67 percent of the machinists union in the area rejected Boeing’s contract extension offer, which would have reduced retirement benefits and called for a one percent raise every other year.
On Monday, Sawant also called on workers to take over the company’s Everett, Washington plant, and use the facility to build buses instead of “war machines” like drones, a call she reiterated on Thursday.
“Boeing has made the first move,” she told KIRO. “Executives have made the first move. They have made their move of threatening the economy. Boeing workers have to pose a counter-threat.”
Watch Sawant’s interview with KIRO, aired on Thursday, below.