Machinists are saving Boeing, Wroblewski says

The ability of Machinists Union workers to ramp up production rates on Boeing’s 737 and 777 assembly lines is what’s going to save the company from a series of missteps by its Chicago management team, the union’s president said.

But if Boeing is going to be successful in the long run, executives need to stop their constant attacks on workers and form a true partnership, said Tom Wroblewski, the president of Machinists District Lodge 751.

“We will never be one Boeing so long as the leadership group in Chicago hangs on to its ‘us-against-them’ gang mentality,” Wroblewski said. “It’s time for that attitude to go.”

Wroblewski’s comments are included in his monthly letter to union members, published in the AeroMechanic newsletter, which is now available online.

Much of the newsletter focuses on Boeing’s September announcements of its plans to significantly invest in Puget Sound, creating a manufacturing research and development center at Boeing Field in Seattle while also increasing production rates on the 737 line in Renton to an all-time record 38 a month. The two moves are expected to create more than 1,000 new jobs.

Rank-and-file Machinists in general were supportive of Boeing’s Puget Sound expansion. “It sounds more positive to hire than to lay off,” said union steward Princie Stewart.

Taken together, the moves could be signs that “Chicago is at long last (maybe) starting to realize what an invaluable resource it has here in Puget Sound — that being the skills, experience and decidation of our members and the other Boeing employees,” Wroblewski wrote.

“I’m quietly optimistic,” he added. “It’s great to see Boeing growing its Puget Sound business again, after a decade where it seemed that the leadership group in Chicago was dead set on destroying everything we had built here together.”

But it’s time for Boeing executives to publicly acknowledge the truth, Wroblewski said: that the contributions made by Puget Sound Machinists are what’s saving the company as it fights to overcome delays to the 787 and 747-8 programs caused by executives’ blind reliance on outsourcing.

“If it wasn’t for the steady revenues generated by our 737 and 777 teams, Boeing wouldn’t have the cash to pay for Chicago’s 787 blunders,” he said. “They really ought to thank you.”

Instead, top executives are threatening to take work away, and to sharply raise out-of-pocket health care costs, Wroblewski noted — and that can’t continue.

“Boeing can only be successful in the future if it utilizes all of its assets to the fullest,” he said. “That means an end to the attacks on the workforce.”

Also in this month’s AeroMechanic, you’ll find:

  • Reports on District 751’s political involvement, including its strong support for incumbent U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, and its strong oppositon to Initiative 1082. Wroblewski explained how the union’s Legislative Committee decides to endorse candidates and causes, as well as why it gets involved in politics to begin with: “Same reason Corporate America does — to elect political leaders and approve ballot measures that represent our interests, only in our case, that’s the cause of working families.”
  • A list of the union’s endorsed candidates for Congressional and Legislative offices, as well as recommendations on Washington state ballot measures.
  • A feature on a wheelchair ramp built by union volunteers for a couple in Lake Stevens.
  • Updates on upcoming contract talks involving District 751 members who work for DynCorp International and Boeing Aerospace Operations at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and at Cummins Northwest facilities in Spokane and Pendleton, Ore.
  • A feature on a “state-of-the-art outlaw shop trike” designed and built by Local 751-C member Pete Cardin, who has donated it to be raffled off, with proceeds going to support Guide Dogs of America.

Originally formed in Seattle in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District 751 now represents more than 25,000 working men and women at 42 employers across the states of Washington, Oregon and California.

Become a fan of IAM 751 on Facebook.

2 Responses to “Machinists are saving Boeing, Wroblewski says”
  1. Glenn Miller says:

    Good, finally, something from the union point of view. I have been hearing nothing but threats from the company. “We are going to do this, we are going to do that”. We have fought, negotiated, and struck, for 75 years for our benefits. We are not just going to give them back because the company wants to fatten there bottom line and get a bigger bonus. A third strike scares me but, we only strike when provoked, remember that…..

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