Machinists won’t give up Boeing 777X for adoption

Long-time Machinists Union Steward Becky Beasley isn’t willing to watch Boeing’s next airplane — the 777X — get built in some other state.

“After 16 years of building this airplane, it would be like putting my first-born up for adoption to see it go someplace else,” she said.

Building the 777X in Everett would be the smart move, said the leader of Besaley’s union, President Tom Wroblewski of Machinists Union District Lodge 751.

“If — after all the troubles we’ve had with the 787 — Boeing wants the 777X done right the first time, then building it here in Puget Sound, using Machinists Union labor, is by far the company’s best option,” he wrote. “If satisfying the customers is Boeing’s goal, then the 777X — composite wings and all — will be built in Everett.”

Inslee777SpeechHowever, he added, “that doesn’t mean that we as a state won’t have to work for it.”

Wroblewski’s comments about the 777X are included in the current edition of the AeroMechanic newsletter, which is now available online.

District 751 is strongly supporting Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan for the future of Washington’s aerospace industry. The plan has the support of both business and labor groups from across the state, as well as local governments.

Wroblewski praised Inslee for taking a long view.

“Even if there wasn’t a 777X program to consider, Inslee’s proposals would be good public policy,” Wroblewski wrote.

For example, he noted, “improving the quality of math instruction in our public schools, to ensure high school graduates have the math skills they need to become CNC machine operators, will benefit every sector of the state’s economy. The same is true of Inslee’s plans to expand community college programs that teach manufacturing skills, and to open up more slots for engineering students at the University of Washington and Washington State.”

Washington has three huge advantages over any potential competing site for the 777X, Wroblewski said.

“All the facilities and support infrastructure Boeing needs to build the 777X are already in place,” he noted. “In Jay Inslee, we’ve got a governor who thinks long-term and knows there are better ways to grow our state’s aerospace industry than simply writing checks.

But the key advantage, he told Machinists Union members, “is you … there are simply no finer aerospace workers in the world than here in the Pacific Northwest.”

Washington state always will have to fight to protect its aerospace  heritage, Wroblewski wrote.

“There always will be governors in no-rights-at-work states willing to give  Boeing gobs of money in hopes of stealing away our jobs,” he wrote. “We may not like this game, but now we know the rules — and we know how to play to win.”

Also in the current AeroMechanic, you can read:

  • A report on how District 751 has negotiated improved severance benefits for the 850 Machinists Boeing will lay off this year;
  • Whidbey NAS2A story about technicians at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station who have voted to join District 751;
  • A feature on the “City of Destiny” award that the city of Tacoma gave to District 751 in recognition of outstanding volunteer service to the community;
  • A recap of the union’s spring peanut butter drive, in which District 751 members donated more than a ton of peanut butter to Pierce County food banks;
  • A feature on District 751’s involvement in the Bloomsday run in Spokane, highlighting the team of Machinists that won its division in the Bloomsday Corporate Cup.

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.

To talk to a District 751 officer about how a union contract could benefit you, click here.

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