IAM teams with Boeing for workforce development
RENTON — The leader of Machinists Union members in Puget Sound praised a $3 million state investment in aerospace job training programs, and pledged the union’s support in helping Boeing to ensure the state of Washington remains the world leader in aerospace manufacturing.
“We are working diligently with our partners at Boeing to ensure that we have the most skilled workers in the world today and into the future,” said Tom Wroblewski, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 in Seattle. “We have been meeting with the company and are excited at the partnerships we have formed to reach our workforce-training goals.”
Wroblewski was one of the speakers at a Tuesday press conference inside Boeing’s Renton plant where Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire announced she is committing $3 million in federal workforce training funds to the aerospace industry. The money will be enough to train about 500 Washington state residents for aerospace careers, she said.
“This investment is a double win for Washington state,” Gregoire said. “It helps those individuals negatively impacted by the national recession receive training to move toward a stable and good-paying career. And it ensures our aerospace workers have the cutting-edge skills needed to design, build and maintain the aircraft of tomorrow – helping our 650 aerospace companies grow and create new jobs.”
Wroblewski agreed. “We at the Machinists Union know that workforce training and education are key to retaining and growing our industry,” he said. “A highly skilled workforce is a key competitive advantage. The announcement today enhances our chances those jobs will remain here, in the state of Washington.”
Wroblewski thanked the governor for investing scarce public money into the aerospace industry, and praised the state’s community and technical colleges for their “willingness to respond to our industry in innovative and timely ways.”
“These workforce investment dollars are the kind of public/private partnerships we need for the aerospace industry to continue to thrive in Washington state,” Wroblewski said. “We are excited to be a partner in this venture going forward with Boeing, the governor, our education system and our community.”
Boeing announced Tuesday that it plans to expand its Renton facilities to handle planned increases in 737 production over the next two years. Once completed, Boeing expects to add 1,200 workers to the Renton said, although a spokeswoman couldn’t say if those would be new hires or workers transferred from other programs.
District 751 is committed to working with Boeing to make the Renton expansion and ramp-up successful, Wroblewski said. “History has shown when we work together, as we did on the Air Force tanker, our team cannot be beat.”
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., Machinists Union District Lodge 751 now represents more than 27,000 working men and women at 44 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In 2010, members used collective bargaining to ratify new contracts with 22 of them, without a single day lost to strikes.
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