IAM 751 backs Sullivan in Snohomish council race

EVERETT — An elected leader with a long track record of supporting Washington’s aerospace industry — and Machinists Union District Lodge 751 in particular — finds himself under attack from a wide range of corporate interests, including the Boeing Co.

That’s why District 751 is strongly supporting Brian Sullivan in his bid for re-election to the Snohomish County Council, said IAM 751 Legislative Director Larry Brown.

“Brian Sullivan has been with us ever since our union worked with him to help land the 7E7 program for Everett,” Brown said. “We won’t turn our back on him now.”

Sullivan is a Snohomish County business owner and a Democrat with a long history of public service. He’s served on the Mukilteo City Council and has been Mukilteo’s major. He served three terms in the Washington state House of Representatives and has won election to the Snohomish County Council twice, defeating Republican challengers by 2-to-1 margins.

During those years, Sullivan has been a staunch supporter of issues important to IAM 751 members, Brown said.

“Brian’s been an advocate for workforce training, education and transportation,” Brown said. “He had a 98-percent pro-labor voting record during his six years in Olympia, and he won awards from both conservation groups and the real estate industry for his work on behalf of his constituents.

“When labor, environmentalists and pro-business groups all unit to support a politician, that really says something about the caliber of his leadership,” Brown said.

But while Sullivan has had no problems defeating Republican challengers in the past, he now finds himself facing an election opponent from his own party. Everett businessman Greg Tisdale, who has served on public committees but never held elected office, has declared himself a Democrat and filed to run against Sullivan for his seat on the County Council.

The move came after Sullivan went to Olympia to testify in support of House Bill 2147 — the bill backed by District 751 and SPEEA that would require Boeing to maintain a specified level of jobs in Washington in order to continue receiving the full $8.7 billion tax break that the Legislature gave it in 2013.

The tax break legislation didn’t set any wage or employment standards for Boeing or other aerospace companies that receive the tax breaks, Sullivan noted in his testimony. As a result, “it simply doesn’t protect the taxpayers the way it should,” he told his former colleagues in the Legislature.

Shortly after Sullivan testified on behalf of the union-supported bill, politicians who have sided with Boeing against the Machinists Union started looking for a challenger to run against Sullivan, Brown said. The Herald in Everett reports that Boeing and the Aerospace Futures Alliance — an industry lobbying group largely funded by Boeing — are among the top contributors to the campaign against Sullivan, along with members of three Snohomish County families who own real estate development companies and car dealerships.

“Now, Brian has an opponent who is being funded by real estate developers and local employers who want to keep wages low,” he said. “They’re trying to take him out of office, because he had the courage to stand up to Boeing and say that our state’s taxpayers deserve more than a broken promise in return for the largest corporate tax breaks in U.S. history.”

Originally formed in 1935 by 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 52 employers across Washington and California.

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