One of the side effects of a booming economy. Could be corrected by the owners, and probably will be, once they conclude that the high production rate will continue long enough to justify the additional cost.The parts in that article not being made to spec would be but a fraction of the total quality issues each plane has, with some being identified and corrected in a way deemed acceptable by engineering, while plenty others go unnoticed/unreported unwittingly or otherwise. By what I've heard from friends that work at Boeing's old Wichita plant now owned by a supplier producing the 737 fuselage, it's a mad house which is not surprising considering how short of a time they've been given to ramp up production to 50+(!) units a month. People are overworked, there's not enough inspectors (an effective way to have worksmanship issues overlooked), along with deadlines that have significant financial repercussions if not met which further fosters a culture of letting problems slide.
Is that driven by union rules or management rules?It also doesn't help when the off-shifts tend to be primarily staffed by people with the least amount of experience, so you have huge skills and knowledge gaps between the shifts which creates issues some companies seem to underestimate.
The safety record for commercial air transport in the USA, as previously noted by others, remains better than traveling in automobiles.The only thing that gives me comfort when flying is the hope that the plane had been over-engineered.