767 tanker better for U.S. taxpayers, economy

Boeing’s 767-based tanker is a smarter investment for the U.S. taxpayer, delivering better performance and more jobs for a lower price, District 751 President Tom Wroblewski writes.

It’s also “the more-practical option,” Wroblewksi wrote in his column for the March edition of the AeroMechanic newsletter. “It just makes more sense to have the world’s best aerospace workers build these planes, in existing factories with long-established supply chains, rather than go with the competing plan to have untrained workers, who haven’t been hired, assembling planes in an as-yet-unbuilt factory from parts machined in Europe and shipped to America.”

The latest round in the long-running tanker battle is a major topic in this month’s AeroMechanic, which is now available online. Along with Wroblewski’s column, it features extensive coverage of the Feb. 19 tanker rally that the union hosted at its Everett hall — which included speeches by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee and Rick Larsen — and also a profile of District 751 members who work at Fairchild Air Force Base at Spokane, where they train the crews that now fly the U.S. Air Force’s aging KC-135R tankers.

Wroblewski acknowledged that the nearly decade-long tanker saga has been frustrating. “I won’t bore you by recapping all the times we thought we’d finally won the tanker,” he wrote. “But it often feels to me like the movie Groundhog Day — for nine years, we’ve done all that we could, so is this finally the morning when we wake up and things will be different?”

But Boeing’s tanker bid still makes the most sense, the union chief said:

  • It’s the right plane for the mission, because the Air Force needs a genuine tanker and not some “weird hybrid” like the one proposed by Northrop Grumman;
  • The 767-based tanker is more affordable to buy and to operate, and won’t require billions of dollars worth of airfield renovations to deploy;
  • It creates more jobs in America than Northrop Grumman’s proposed European-American joint venture, and with “nearly 31 million Americans out of work completely or only working part-time … we need the kind of economic stimulus that only an all-American tanker can provide.”

Along with the stories about the tanker, this month’s AeroMechanic also includes:

  • Stories and photos from February’s first flight of the 747-8, which Wroblewski called “just one more example of how District 751 members are ‘First in Aerospace;'”
  • A story about how District 751 is spreading the word about UCubed — the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers’ initiative to support unemployed workers nationwide;
  • Stories and photos showing union members involved in community service projects across Puget Sound, including the effort to rebuild the “Annie Babcock House” in Woodinville; and
  • A story on how an “Obama stimulus” grant to Spokane will benefit District 751 workers in the trucking industry there.

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  1. […] the tanker contract — and the union’s strong support for the Boeing tanker bid — in the most-recent edition of the AeroMechanic newsletter. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Reports: Northrop won’t bid, but EADS […]

  2. […] assessment agreed with District 751 President Tom Wroblewski’s. The union leader had written in his March column in the AeroMechanic newsletter that the Northrop/EADS plane was simply too big to meet the Air […]



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