Inslee thanks IAM for 737 MAX, vows to land 777-X
SEATTLE — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee thanked Machinists Union leaders for all they’ve done to keep aerospace jobs in his state, and said he’s personally committed to doing all he can do to ensure Boeing builds its next new jet – the 777-X – here.
“These jobs put food on the tables of people I care about,” the governor said. “I’m intent on making sure the 777-X is made right here in my state.”
Inslee was one of the keynote speakers at the 2013 International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers’ biennial Aerospace Conference, held in Seattle. The conference drew some 250 Machinists Union members and officers from across the United States and Canada. The goal of the conference was to “share our wisdom and knowledge and give us a better chance of fighting the challenges ahead of us,” said Mark Blondin, the union’s general vice president for aerospace.
Inslee told the union members that their IAM leadership “knows how to get things done.”
Examples of that are the fact that Boeing is starting to assemble KC-46 tankers in Everett and that the company will build the latest-generation 737 MAX in Renton, the governor said.
The Pentagon’s decision to award Boeing the tanker contract – after a decade of lobbying by the Machinists Union – was “a win for taxpayers, a win for jobs and good for the U.S. Air Force,” Inslee said.
And Inslee thanked the Machinists Union leaders and their members for negotiating and ratifying the four-year contract extension that ensured Boeing would keep building the latest version of its best-selling airliner around Puget Sound.
“The agreement you negotiated means thousands of aerospace jobs here in my state,” Inslee said. “Every aerospace job is a win for every family in my state.”
Inslee said what Boeing has achieved in Renton with the 737 program – nearly doubling production rates over the past decade without expanding the factory – happened “because of the team, and the great talent of your personnel, squeezing more efficiencies out of that line.”
Washington’s highly skilled aerospace workers are the “single most important competitive advantage we have,” Inslee said.
The state will have to compete to ensure the aerospace industry is successful here, he added.
“This is a competition every single day,” Inslee said. “We can’t wake up and say ‘Gee, it’s great Bill Boeing did well here in 1916.’”
- Adding room for 500 new students a year in aerospace manufacturing training programs at Washington’s community and technical colleges;
- Establishing a “return to industry” training program for community college instructors to ensure they are briefed on the latest manufacturing techniques;
- Doubling the number of high school students studying aerospace manufacturing at vocational skills centers around the state;
- Establishing testing programs so that graduates can earn national industry certificates; and
- Increasing emphasis on science, technology and mathematics education in Washington’s schools, in part to ensure that high school graduates have the math skills they need to become CNC machine operators.
Washington also needs to take immediate steps to improve its transportation system, to make it easier for companies like Boeing to move people and airplane parts between plants, Inslee said.
“I want to make sure Boeing management can’t come to us in a few years and say ‘We can’t build airplanes here because you’ve got traffic congestion,’” he said.
Inslee asked the Machinists Union members from Washington to “light a fire” under their legislators by telling them “my job is dependent on you doing your job.”
“We’ll continue to work with your leadership,” Inslee told the Machinists, “to ensure that aerospace stays No. 1 in this state and the United States.”
Machinists Union District Lodge 751 in Seattle was the host committee for the conference.
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 33,000 working men and women at 49 employers across Washington, Oregon and California.
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