Machinists promise support for Project Pegasus

PARIS — Machinists Union leaders applauded the appointment of Tayloe Washburn to head up the campaign to ensure Boeing’s next new airplane is manufactured within Washington state.

Machinists Union District Lodge 751 President Tom Wroblewski also vowed the support of all 28,000 of his members in backing Gov. Chris Gregoire’s “Project Pegaus,” which Washburn will lead.

“Our union is committed to growing Washington’s aerospace industry,” he said.

Washington state has been home to Boeing Commercial Airplanes for the past 95 years, and all the ingredients are here to make Boeing successful for the next 95, Wroblewski said.

“We’ve got a great business climate, which includes generous tax incentives,” said Wroblewski, who noted that the Machinists Union played a key role in helping convince the Washington Legislature to approve those tax incentives in 2003.

More importantly, he added, “we’ve got something that no other would-be industry cluster has: a large pool of skilled, experienced and motivated aerospace workers.”

There are 35,000 Machinists Union members alone in Washington state, working for Boeing, various airlines and key aerospace suppliers like Triumph, BAE Systems, Pexco and Hexcel. In addition tens of thousands more people work for more than 600 non-union aerospace companies.

Washington state also is home to a wide range of aerospace training programs – including community colleges, universities, apprenticeship programs and skills centers — that are already teaching the next generation of aircraft designers, builders and maintenance workers.

District 751 itself is working with Boeing on a “school-to-work” curriculum that will give hundreds of Washington high school students more of the skills they need to pursue an aerospace manufacturing career, Wroblewski noted.

The goal of Project Pegasus is to ensure that Boeing builds its next new airplane in Washington state. Washburn is the former chairman of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and more recently was co-chairman of the Washington Aerospace Partnership.

“Washington’s role as the No. 1 aerospace cluster in the world is an excellent foundation,” Washburn said. “However, we have work to do as a state to take our aerospace competitiveness to the next level and ensure continuing leadership for workers and companies in our state.”

“Tayloe Washburn gets it,” Wroblewski said. “To be successful in aerospace, you have to have business, government and labor all working together for everyone’s mutual benefit.

“I saw Tayloe do that as co-chair of the Washington Aerospace Partnership, and with all of us working together, Boeing won the U.S. Air Force tanker bid,” Wroblewski continued. “Bringing that same approach to Project Pegasus will ensure a similar victory for Washington state, its aerospace workers – and for Boeing itself.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents some 28,000 working men and women at 44 employers across the states of Washington, Oregon and California. They are among the more than 35,000 Machinists Union members working for airlines and aerospace manufacturers in Washington state.

In 2010, District 751 workers ratified contracts with 22 employers without a single workday lost to strikes.

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2 Responses to “Machinists promise support for Project Pegasus”
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  1. […] Paris, the union announced its strong commitment to Project Pegasus – Gov. Chris Gergoire’s campaign to ensure Boeing’s next new airplane is […]

  2. […] District 751 is a strong supporter of Project Pegasus, which is the state of Washington’s campaign to ensure that Boeing builds the 737 Max and other future airplanes in Washington state. The Accenture study — which is being jointly funded by business, labor and government groups across Washington — is part of the effort. […]

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