Boeing tanker’s best, whether Northrop bids or not

Reports that Northrop Grumman has decided not to bid on a $35 billion U.S. Air Force contract don’t change anything as far as District 751 leaders are concerned.

“Boeing’s NewGen tanker is the best choice for America’s military, its taxpayers and its economy, and that doesn’t change whether Northrop Grumman bids or not,” union leaders said in a statement posted Monday afternoon.

The statement came in response to reports in The Seattle Times and elsewhere that Northrop Grumman will announce later today that it has decided not to bid on a contract to provide aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force. Other reports from Europe said that Northrop Grumman’s tanker partner — Airbus parent company EADS — was considering its own bid. (Further reports described a seperate EADS bid as unlikely, however.)

Whether they decide to bid or not, it won’t change how the Machinists union in Seattle views the tanker bid, or how it will proceed, according to union leaders, who said they are “committed to helping Boeing secure a contract for all 179 Air Force tankers, whether there are 10 competing bids or none.”

And the union’s members stand ready to build the planes, just as their forbearers built the KC-135 tankers five decades ago, they added.

District 751 President Tom Wrbolewski discussed the tanker contract — and the union’s strong support for the Boeing tanker bid — in the most-recent edition of the AeroMechanic newsletter.

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