Former Boeing SC employee speaks out after report on 787 issues

Updated: Apr. 23, 2019 at 7:03 AM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -Two days after a New York Times report uncovered several issues with production at the North Charleston Boeing facility, one man quoted spoke on camera with CBS News.

CBS News has confirmed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received nearly a dozen whistleblower complaints, as recently as 2017, expressing concerns about the manufacturing of the Dreamliner at the Boeing plant in South Carolina.

The complaints, first reported by the Times, range from allegations of finding tools and debris inside new planes to employees facing pressure to put speed over safety.

"I don't feel like the company's putting the priority into quality. It's production for profit," said Rich Mester, a former Boeing technician who spoke to the Times. He was fired last year.

"I personally found tubes of sealant, nuts, panduits," Mester said, referring to a type of cable ties. "We found clamps. They found a string of lights, work lights, in the aft section of the airplane."

Boeing says the report “paints a skewed and inaccurate picture” of the 787 program with “distorted information, rehashing of old stories and rumors,” adding “safety and quality are at the core of Boeing’s values.”

“They’re supposed to have been inspected for this stuff, and it still makes it out to us," Mester told the Times.

Five airlines tell CBS News they have full confidence in the 787. There’s no evidence a manufacturing issue has lead to a serious safety issue on any of the 814 planes in service, and the plane has never crashed.

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