Wroblewski: Albaugh’s right about a lot of things
Leaders of District 751 said they’re pleased with most of what Jim Albaugh had to say in a Seattle Times interview published today.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say this, but the Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO and I are in complete agreement on something,” said Union president Tom Wroblewski. “Our members are magicians.”
And while Albaugh’s comments linking Puget Sound’s odds of getting future Boeing work to future contract talks with the Machinists were “interesting,” Wroblewski wrote in a letter to Union members, on balance “I found a lot to agree with” in the interview.
Specifically, Wroblewski said he agrees that:
- The world’s best aerospace workers live and work in Puget Sound;
- Washington state has a great climate for aerospace; logically it should “be Boeing’s first, last and only choice for any new airplane program,” Wroblewski said;
- Boeing has outsourced far too much — particularly with the 787 — and the company should never again let anyone else build its wings.
Finally, Wroblewski said he thinks more engineers — and Machinists too — should be involved in higher-level decision-making at Boeing. “We strongly feel that the people actually doing the work should have that kind of input.”
Wroblewski said that Albaugh’s comments on outsourcing were particularly important, given that outsourcing has been a huge source of friction between Boeing and the union, and — along with company proposals to slash benefits — was a major cause leading to the strikes in 2005 and 2008. “Who knows what will happen when we get back to the bargaining table,” he said, “but if Boeing’s truly committed to dialing back two decades of outsourcing, then I’d say our chances of reaching a contract this time are that much better.”
On the other hand, Albaugh’s remarks about future wage increases were off-base, given that Machinists went four years prior to 2008 without any raises, and that entry-level pay prior to the 2008 contract was so close to minimum wage that Boeing was losing people to better-paying jobs at tire stores and coffee shops. The timing of the comments was also “interesting,” Wroblewski added, given that just last week both Albaugh and Boeing CEO Jim McNerney had been given $3 million stock grants.
Like Albaugh, Wroblewski said he’s committed to making sure that District 751 members are building Boeing airplanes in Washington state for the next 20 years. “Together,” he said, “we can create new profits for Boeing, new jobs for our members and new opportunities for Washington state, which would be something that all of us could agree on.”
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