Wroblewski: More to union than Boeing dispute

The high volume of noise that surrounds Machinists Union relations with the Boeing Co. is drowning out news about the important work being done by the union on behalf of workers at other companies.

“A lot of really important things get overlooked,” said Tom Wroblewski, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751. “The contract just ratified by our 250 new union brothers and sisters at URS is a prime example.”

Wroblewski’s comments are included in this month’s AeroMechanic newsletter, which is now available online.

In his monthly message to union members, Wroblewski noted that the workers at URS Corp. had voted to join the Machinists Union in order to negotiate for wages that were in line with what other workers in Western Washington are paid for doing similar work.

The URS mechanics maintain EA-6B and EA-18G electronic warfare jets for the U.S. Navy, based at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

The URS workers also wanted a written agreement to cover work they do when assigned to remote locations – so-called TDY assignments – and also a more-fair process for filling job openings, promotions and downgrades.

They got all that in their new contract, which members ratified with a 97-percent “yes” vote on July 27, Wroblewski said.

In addition, “there’s a widespread perception that union contract negotiations are always rocky and contentious,” Wroblewski wrote. But that certainly wasn’t the case in July when union negotiators met with management at Doss Aviation and in one day came to terms on a three-year contract.

Doss Aviation workers fuel aircraft at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and at the Yakima Training Center. They ratified their new contract with a 77-percent “yes” vote on July 29.

“It is a good package for every member,” said Dan Kautzman, a Doss employee who was on the union’s negotiating team. “You never know what the future holds – especially during these recessionary times. Having your wages and benefits in writing gives you security and the ability to plan for your future.”

“That’s what this union strives for above all,” said Wroblewski. ‘Giving members security and the ability to plan for their future.”

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

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents some 28,500 working men and women at 45 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In 2010, District 751 members used collective bargaining to reach contracts with 22 of those employers, without a single work day lost to strikes.

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

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