Machinists help grow Washington’s farm industry

District 751 Machinists play a key role in the success of two of Washington’s leading industries: aerospace and agriculture.

Some 200 union members — including Machinists — maintain more than 5,000 miles of irrigation canals and reservoirs throughout the Columbia Basin Project in eastern Washington. Their efforts provide water to more than 670,000 acres where farmers grow Washington’s well-known apples, as well as alfalfa, wheat, soybeans, mint, grapes and a variety of other fruit and vegetables that are key components of Washington’s $35 billion agricultural industry.

“Without our members at irrigation districts, much of eastern Washington would be sagebrush and sand,” said Ken Howard, who is Machinists Union District Lodge 751’s staff assistant in Richland.

The District 751 members — who are part of the South Columbia Basin Trades Council — are profiled in the current issue of the Eastern Washington Machinists News, which is now available online.

Also in the current edition, you’ll find:

  • A report on members from Local 86 in Spokane and Local 1951 in Richland who took part in the “We Are One” rally in Olympia on April 8;
  • Feature stories on work done by union members at Prompt Printery in Yakima and B&B Truck Service in Spokane;
  • A feature on Gary Swartz, a Local 86 officer who took part in political education training at the William W. Winpinsinger Education Center run by the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers.

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing in Seattle; Machinists District 751 now represents more than 27,000 workers at 44 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. It has a network of seven local lodges including Local 86 in Spokane, Local 1123 in Wenatchee and Local 1951 in Richland.

To contact a District 751 officer for information on how a union contract could help you, click here.

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