Tanker win shows value of experienced workforce

SEATTLE — Tom Wroblewski, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751, issued the following statement after executives of EADS North America said Friday that they would not protest a Pentagon decision to award a contract to build Air Force refueling tankers to Boeing:

“Today’s announcement by EADS means that – at long last – we can start work on building KC-46A tankers for the U.S. Air Force.

“The fact that Boeing was able to submit the lower-price bid shows the value of having a skilled, dedicated and flexible union workforce. Since 2008, Boeing executives have worked hand in hand with members of the IAM and SPEEA to establish a new, more-efficient 767 production line in Everett, which allowed the company to offer a lower bid. We now know that was a crucial factor in the decision.

“The KC-46 was the right choice for America’s warfighters, taxpayers and economy. I once again congratulate Boeing on this victory, and I look forward to building on the 10-year partnership that brought this contract to Boeing and Puget Sound.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, Machinists District 751 now represents more than 26,500 working men and women at 44 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In 2010, District 751 members ratified new contracts with 22 of those employers, without a single workday lost to strikes.

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