IAM: Obama’s focus on manufacturing is working

SEATTLE — Washington has a chance to be an economic leader in the 21st century, but only with forward-thinking political leadership at the federal and state levels, said the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751.

“We have those kinds of leaders in President Obama and Jay Inslee,” union president Tom Wroblewski said.

Wroblewski was part of a panel supporting Obama and Inslee on a telephone press conference today, the same day Republican president candidate Mitt Romney held closed-door fundraisers with millionaire donors in Medina, and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna went to Texas for an fundraiser sponsored by Big Oil companies, including Tesoro.

Wroblewski praised President Obama’s plans for rebuilding American manufacturing. Based on what’s happening here in Washington, that plan clearly is working, he said.

“In the last year, more than 14,000 manufacturing jobs have come back to Washington, many of them in the aerospace industry,” Wroblewski said.

By comparison, look at what happened in Massachusetts when Romney was governor, he added. “More than 40,000 manufacturing jobs were lost under Gov. Romney’s watch.”

At a state level, the Democratic candidate for governor, Jay Inslee, “often tells us we have the opportunity to lead the world in building a clean energy economy,” Wroblewski said. But that can happen only if “we elect leaders who understand what we need to go forward, not back to the policies that got us here,” he added.

Washington’s working people have the skills, talent and innovative spirit to build the “airplanes, computers and infrastructure for the 21st century,” Wroblewski said. “We also know we need leaders who will stand next to us in this effort, not in our way.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 31,500 working men and women at 48 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In December, District 751 members ratified a four-year contract extension with Boeing that ensured the 737 MAX will be built in Puget Sound.

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