2008 IAM News Archives

Latest Update

Tue. January 22, 2008

New Contracts Cover C-17 Workers in Nine States

April 23, 2009 - Many of the 313 members in nine states who maintain Boeing C-17 aircraft for the U.S. Air Force will see their pay increase dramatically under new IAM contracts recently negotiated under Service Contract Act (SCA) guidelines. While the majority of first year pay raises under the new contracts are between 15 and 30 percent, some members will see their pay jump by as much as 78 percent.

“This first contract is a huge improvement for these members who were previously salaried, non-union employees,” said Aerospace Coordinator Mark Blondin. “Most previous rates were well below the Area Wage Determination (AWD), with no standard rate.”

In addition to significant pay increases, the new agreements include traditional first contract benefits, including seniority protections, a grievance procedure, negotiated vacation language, paid bereavement, a retirement savings account, overtime provisions and more.

“It’s quite amazing to consider we went from considering organizing in mid-January to a ratified collective bargaining agreement by mid-April,” said new member Jim Schneller, who praised the organizers and negotiators who worked together with members to produce the first agreement. “It was critical that the initial organizers who built rapport with our units stay on the case.”

The C-17 workers are employed at Altus AFB in Oklahoma, Jackson AFB in Mississippi, Charleston AFB in North Carolina, Dover AFB in Delaware, McChord AFB in Washington, March AFB in California, Travis AFB in California and McGuire AFB in New Jersey. In addition to the eight Boeing locations, IAM members who perform C-17 work at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, AK, also ratified a new agreement.

Take Action Now to Preserve F-22 Raptor Jobs

Aprl 17, 2009 - Urge Members of Congress and the new Administration to take immediate action to release funds already authorized to continue production of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, the F-22 Raptor. Keeping the production line of this model aerospace program open currently requires no additional taxpayer dollars, and is not a rescue or bailout. Rather, it will allow us to maintain a healthy program that delivers considerable economic benefit while providing our Air Force with appropriate numbers of the best fighter aircraft ever made. Production of this aircraft is in jeopardy―and with it more than 95,000 American jobs, over $12 billion in national economic activity and the air superiority of America’s Air Force.

Read More & Take Action Here. 

Investigating Boeing/EADS Trade Issues

Robert O’Harrow explains his investigation of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his ties to Citizens Against Government Waste and the issue of Boeing/EADS.. View the video here.

Defense Secretary Halts Tanker Decision

Defense Secretary Robert Gates to “hold” the tanker decision for the next administration fuels fiery debate among states and presidential contenders.  Sighting reasons of complexity and emotional anxiety by all parties involved Gates made the decision to terminate the solicitation.

“It is my judgment that in the time remaining to us, we can no longer complete a competition that would be viewed as fair and objective in this highly charged environment,” Gates said. “The resulting ‘cooling off’ period will allow the next administration to review objectively the military requirements and craft a new acquisition strategy for the KC-X.”

Concluding the Government Accountability Office investigation, sightings of multiple flaws in the Air Forces procuring process emerged.  Further opposition from the losing bidder at this stage would have been likely, only adding to the bitter rivalry between Boeing and Airbus.

“Over the past seven years the process has become enormously complex and emotional - in no small part because of mistakes and missteps along the way by the Department of Defense,” Gates said.

Until a decision is made, Pentagon officials have stated the current KC-135 fleets in service could be maintained and will meet the Air Force’s immediate needs.


Clinton Backs U.S Workers in Tanker Debate

July 25, 2008 - New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton took a strong stand on behalf of U.S. aerospace workers this week when she challenged Air Force officials to follow the law governing major procurement decisions, such as the aerial refueling tanker, and to consider the impact on the U.S. industrial base.
At a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing this week, Michael B. Donley, nominee for Secretary of the Air Force, tried to downplay the domestic impact issue by saying that the aerospace industry is international and that the major corporations all have foreign entities. Clinton disagreed and asked him to respond in writing how the Air Force would honor established domestic sourcing requirements in U.S. law.

“When the Air Force announced its tanker refueling contract award to Airbus A330 last February, I was struck when the spokesperson indicated that the Air Force could not and did not take into consideration the impact of the award on the U.S. industrial base,” said Clinton. “I'm very well aware that we live in an international economy, but I'm also extremely conscious of the impact of decisions made by our government with taxpayer dollars that undermine our competitiveness for the long run and eliminate jobs and thereby undermine technical skill acquisition in a way that I think will come back to haunt us.”

The Air Force procurement program has been under intense scrutiny since it awarded a $35 billion contract for 179 aerial refueling tankers to a consortium headed by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co (EADS). The decision, which sparked nationwide outrage when the Air Force admitted it had not considered the impact on domestic employment, was also rebuked by the Government Accountability Office, which found “significant errors” in the bidding process, including favorable treatment for the EADS proposal.



Machinists Wary on Tanker Rebid Rules

July 10, 2008 - The IAM is calling on Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates to ensure the new round of bidding for the Air Force refueling tanker contract does not include any residual bias from the initial competition, which contained significant errors and was heavily skewed toward the Airbus tanker.

“We are calling for aggressive oversight of the bidding process to make sure Boeing’s tanker is evaluated on a fair, level playing field,” said Headquarters GVP Rich Michalski. “We will not accept, nor should American taxpayers accept a process or an outcome that is only slightly less rigged than the initial round of bidding.”

Fresh concerns erupted following yesterday’s announcement that the Pentagon might once again use excessive fuel capacity and other criteria to favor the Airbus aircraft in a new round of bidding to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers.

“I am concerned that the department is trying to find a new way to justify selecting the larger Airbus tanker again, even though there is no current operational requirement for a larger refueling tanker,” said Washington state Rep. Norm Dicks, who learned that the criteria for the new tanker will favor a larger tanker than was initially requested.

Rep. Dicks also noted that the Airbus is 53 percent larger than the Boeing 767, requiring greater maintenance and operations costs. He noted that the Boeing KC-767 could save $35 billion in fuel costs over 40 years—an amount large enough to equal the purchase of the entire fleet.



Union Support Grows for Boeing Tanker

June 27, 2008 - Twenty-two unions, labor federations and affiliated organizations have signed and delivered a letter to House and Senate lawmakers calling for Boeing to immediately be awarded the Air Force refueling tanker contract.

Citing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that said the Airbus tanker lacked the ability to refuel all of the Air Force’s aircraft and calling Boeing’s KC-767 “the clear winner” in the competition to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of tankers, the labor groups are urging Congress to award the contract to Boeing without delay.
“The Air Force needs new tankers now,” said the letter, which was delivered to all 535 members of Congress. “Continuing this phony “competition” only adds unnecessary delays and costs to the tanker refueling program. The Boeing KC-767 fulfills the requirements of the original Request for Proposal (RFP) and has over 85 percent domestic content – a clear win for America.”

The Air Force decision to award the $40 billion contract to Northrop Grumman/EADS Airbus, was rebuked by the GAO report, which cited the Air Force for failing to follow its own guidelines and awarding the massive contract to a more costly aircraft that is too large for many airfields. Additional concerns outside the scope of the GAO report were also raised.

“Only Boeing has the skilled workforce and fully operational production line to meet the Air Force’s demand for new tankers. We strongly urge that Congress act now and award the tanker refueling contract to the original winner, the Boeing KC-767.”



Video: The GAO Says No!!!

June 26, 2008 - A few months ago, the United States Air Force awarded a U.S. Military Contract to a foreign owned company.  Machinists jumped on the issue and the government heard us loud and clear.

Watch the video here.



IAM, Connecticut Lawmakers Applaud GAO Report

June 25, 2008 - The Connecticut Congressional delegation joined with Machinists union members and other labor representatives this week to celebrate the Government Accounting Office’s (GAO) report that cited serious flaws in the refueling tanker competition that led to a French-built Airbus being chosen over a U.S-manufactured Boeing 767.

Hundreds of Connecticut workers and union members were joined by Senator Chris Dodd and Representatives John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro and Chris Murphy for the rally, which took place at the Connecticut AFL-CIO Convention.
“In our opinion, what the GAO decision means is Boeing won the competition and should be awarded the contract,” said IAM District 26 Business Representative Everett Corey. “We’re ready to begin building the new tanker starting today.”

Among the points made in the GAO report was that the Air Force did not assess the relative merits of the tanker proposals in accordance with the criteria it initially established. The GAO also cited the Air Force for conducting "misleading and unequal discussions" with Boeing by informing Boeing that it had fully satisfied a key performance objective, but later determined privately that Boeing had not.

The GAO also concluded the Air Force miscalculated the life-cycle costs of Boeing's tanker, and incorrectly concluded that the Northrop tanker would have lower operating costs.



Machinists Welcome GAO Tanker Report

Washington, D.C., June 18, 2008 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today welcomed the report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) that cited serious flaws in the refueling tanker competition that led to a French-built Airbus being chosen over a U.S-manufactured Boeing 767.

“This is a major victory for America,” said IAM General Vice President Rich Michalski.  “In addition to multi-million dollar accounting errors and foreign government subsidies, the Air Force made changes midway in the competition that further favored the Airbus proposal. The GAO report should be the foundation for reversing this outrageous award without delay.”

The contract that could eventually be worth as much as $100 billion and support widespread job creation also became a white hot national issue the minute the Air Force revealed it did not consider the employment consequences of awarding a contract to a company based in Toulouse, France. 

"Awarding this contract to Boeing would preserve a key a manufacturing sector and provide real economic stimulus for Boeing workers, vendors and communities in at least 30 U.S. states,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger.

The IAM led a grassroots effort to overturn the tanker award, with members in all 50 states contacting lawmakers and urging an investigation of the competition that resulted in an unproven EADS-Airbus design being chosen over one based on Boeing’s 767, a model with more than 10 million hours of commercial flying time.

“We are confident the Boeing aircraft met every criteria established by the Air Force and will give our military a superior aircraft that will serve for decades,” said Michalski, who urged the Air Force to award the refueling contract to Boeing without delay.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) represents nearly 35,000 Boeing employees in Kansas , Washington state and other locations across the country. For more information, visit www.goiam.org.

Machinists Slam Tanker Accounting Error

June 17, 2008 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today called for the reversal of the controversial tanker refueling contract following news that the U.S. Air Force awarded the $35 billion contract based on errors that favored the Airbus tanker over a version of Boeing’s 767.

“This process has been deeply flawed from the beginning,” said IAM General Vice President Rich Michalski. “First, the Air Force admitted they never took into account the employment consequences of awarding a multi-billion contract to a company based in France. Now we learn they used grossly inaccurate numbers to compare operating costs of the two aircraft. It’s clear that Boeing won this competition and they should be awarded the right to build these planes.”

The Air Force this week admitted it miscalculated the life-cycle costs of operating Boeing’s refueling tanker by at least $36 million per aircraft and that it awarded the contract to the more expensive proposal for an Airbus tanker. The recent increase in fuel prices makes the cost difference between operating the two aircraft even larger.

Additionally, the Air Force said earlier this year that it was not required to consider the employment impact of outsourcing such a large defense contract.

“We need to decide as a nation if billions in taxpayer dollars should be used to support job creation programs overseas while this country slips deeper into recession,” said Michalski.

The IAM has led a sustained grassroots effort to overturn the tanker award, with members in all 50 states contacting lawmakers and urging an investigation of the process that resulted in the Airbus design being chosen over one based on Boeing’s 767, a model with more than 10 million hours of commercial flying time.

EPI Study Fuels Debate on Tanker Jobs

June 6, 2008 - A new study of the decision to award a $40 million taker contract to EADS/Airbus instead of Boeing reveals just how many jobs will not be created in the U.S. once production gets underway.

“Because roughly half of the parts and labor that go into making the NG/Airbus will come from overseas, at least 14,000 jobs that could have been generated in the United States if the contract had gone to Boeing will not be created,” said the report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The number of jobs notcreated is in addition to the number of existing jobs jeopardized by foreign production of the tanker. As many as 44,000 U.S. jobs at dozens of companies in more than 30 states are directly or indirectly linked to tanker production and support.

The EPI study also notes that Air Force officials did not evaluate the impact on employment and job creation when awarding the contract. “There are few, if any other major countries that do not take into account the location of production and employment in military procurement decisions,” said the report. “The process of accounting for the promised and actual location of production under military contracts is governed in most countries under so-called ‘offset’ arrangements.”

Offsets are agreements to locate production in the purchasing country or to source products from or transfer technology to firms in that country. The loosely-governed practice has the potential to shift valuable technology, developed at U.S. taxpayer expense, to developing countries intent on competing with U.S.-built industries.


Machinists, Connecticut Officials Urge Bush to Reconsider Tanker Contract

May 28, 2008 - Machinists, business leaders and state officials gathered at the Connecticut state Capitol last week to announce that the Connecticut General Assembly is sending a letter to President Bush urging him to reconsider the U.S. Air Force’s decision to award a $40 billion aerial refueling tanker contract to the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS).

“We call upon you to halt the contract process for the United States mid-air refueling tanker, and we strongly urge you to immediately and vigorously investigate the proposed outsourcing of taxpayer-funded jobs, its impact on the American economy and the procurement process that made possible this transfer of billions of dollars to foreign entities,” states the letter, which was signed by 177 of 187 members of the legislature.

“We are all tired of watching our jobs streaming overseas and devastating our future,” said District 26 Directing Business Representative Everett Corey. “Having our Government and our taxpayer dollars pay for it is even more appalling.”

The Air Force’s decision not to award the contract to Boeing could impact as many as 44,000 U.S. aircraft and aerospace workers at hundreds of primary and secondary contractors in more than 40 states. Connecticut stands to lose more than 4,000 jobs at Pratt & Whitney in addition to numerous jobs at smaller vendors and suppliers.



House Lawmakers Voice Tanker Concerns

May 21, 2008 - A group of bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) last week, voicing deep concerns about the potential national and economic security threats of the Air Force’s decision to award a $40 billion aerial refueling tanker contract to the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS).

The letter, signed by Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) and 37 of their colleagues, cites broad concerns beyond the legal and process questions currently being examined by the GAO.

“The necessary GAO review will not address the broader national and economic security concerns raised by the tanker decision,” the letter states. “Congress must address these serious issues before the tanker program can move forward—we owe it to the warfighter, to American workers, and to American taxpayers to ensure not just that the technical acquisition process worked as it was supposed to, but that the nation buys the best tanker.”

The Air Force’s decision could impact as many as 44,000 U.S. aircraft and aerospace workers at hundreds of primary and secondary contractors in more than 40 states.

Over the next seven to ten years, the U.S. expects to purchase 179 new tankers, a number that will grow to over 350 in the next two decades. With over 85 percent domestic U.S. content, Boeing’s KC-767 tanker offered more storage for fuel, troops, medical supplies and equipment. The Airbus tanker is larger but also burns 24 percent more fuel while airborne.  It is so large that it cannot land at many critical military bases, reducing its value as a military support asset.



Clock Ticking on Tanker Decision

April 30, 2008 - With less than two months remaining before the Government Accountability Office is set to rule on a formal objection filed by Boeing, opponents of the U.S. Air Force’s decision to award a $40 billion tanker contract to Airbus and Northrop Grumman are stepping up the pressure.
Boeing, which has been supplying tankers to the Air Force for nearly half a century, took out a full page ad in the Washington Post stressing the importance of experience and expertise in securing the tanker contract.

“Designing, building, certifying and delivering tanker aircraft and booms is a complex, high-risk process,” the ad states. “Boeing’s track record of superior management of complex military programs is unsurpassed.”

Union members, meanwhile, continue to flood lawmakers with petitions protesting the deal. You can send a message to Congress telling them “U.S. Forces Deserve U.S. Tankers” by clicking go to (http://capwiz.com/iamaw/issues/alert/?alertid=11106876 ).

Lawmakers also continue to remain active in their opposition. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), along with seven other Senators, recently sent a letter to President Bush questioning the decision.



Latest News on the Tanker Contract

April 18, 2008 – There have been numerous articles in the press recently about the U.S. Air Force’s controversial decision to award a $40 billion tanker contract to Airbus and Northrop Grumman.

Click on the links below to view the articles:

Anti-Northrop Petitions to Flood D.C.  (Politico)

Labor Leaders Seek Reversal of Tanker Contract Decision  (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Lawmakers, Unions Protest Tanker Deal  (USA Today)

Kansas Delegation in Washington to Protest Tanker Decision  (Wichita Business Journal)

Click here to send a message to Congress that “U.S. Forces Deserve U.S. Tankers.”



Unions Urge Congress to De-fund Tanker Contract

April 14, 2008 - The list of unions calling on Congress to withhold funding for the $40 billion tanker contract grows larger each week.

The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) this week issued a letter to House and Senate members calling for Congress to defund the Airbus/EADS tanker contract, calling it an “insult” to U.S. workers and taxpayers to outsource such an important strategic defense contract.

“We at IFPTE believe that Congress should defund the Airbus/EADS Tanker contract, hold hearings to bring transparency to the process by which this contract award has come about, and ultimately re-compete it,” said IFPTE President Gregory J. Junemann.

Additional unions joining the IAM in calling for the tanker contract to be defunded include the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which sharply questioned the use of waivers allowing the Department of Defense (DoD) to bypass the Buy American Act and award the tanker contract to a foreign consortium.

“It is clear the bidding process for this contract was unfair,” said IBEW President Edwin D. Hill in a letter to lawmakers. “American companies were disadvantaged and our own government is complicit.”

Click here to send a message to Congress that “U.S. Forces Deserve U.S. Tankers.”

To view IFPTE letter go to http://www.goiam.org/publications/imail/PDFS/04_10_2008_ifpte_speea.pdf

To view IBEW letter go to http://www.goiam.org/publications/imail/PDFS/04_10_2008_ibew.pdf



Video: Tankers Today, Fighters Tomorrow?

April 7, 2008 - Americans around the country are angry as they watch their jobs and livelihoods go overseas.  Most recently, it was the award of a US Military contract to a foreign country.  GVP Rich Michalski traveled to Pennsylvania to speak about this issue.

Watch the video here.



Connecticut Workers Protest Tanker Contract

April 2, 2008 - At a rally in East Hartford, CT, this week, union members, business leaders, elected officials and workers from across Connecticut voiced their collective outrage over the awarding of a $40 billion Air Force tanker contract to Airbus and Northrop Grumman.

“If we don’t maintain our industrial base and skilled workforce, our national security is in jeopardy,” said District 26 Directing Business Representative Everett Corey. “We need to start with this contract – keep the jobs here in the U.S., where the people are paying the taxes that fund this program.”

Connecticut stands to lose more than 4,000 jobs at Pratt & Whitney in addition to numerous jobs at smaller vendors and suppliers. At a time when our nation faces a looming recession and record trade deficits, it is unconscionable to award a multi-billion contract to another nation rather than utilize our own skilled workers.



Boeing Tanker Battle Continues

March 27, 2008 - The fight to reverse the $40 billion tanker decision enters its third week with union members contacting lawmakers and demanding hearings on the process that allowed Europe’s Airbus and its U.S. front company, Northrop Grumman, to walk away with one of the largest U.S. defense contracts in history.

The face-to-face lobbying effort is being buttressed by a public relations campaign that includes full page advertisements in local and national newspapers across the country. The latest ad in the Wall Street Journal, Boeing outlines its objections to the process that resulted in the selection of a much larger, more vulnerable, less capable and ultimately more costly aircraft than was originally requested by the Air Force.

The stakes in this fight are extremely high. In addition to 44,000 U.S. jobs that could be impacted, as many as 300 U.S. companies in over a dozen states stand to lose significant contract and sub-contract work if the massive tanker deal is outsourced.

In an analysis of Mission Capability, the most important evaluation factor in the bidding process, Boeing’s KC-767 received the highest possible rating, meeting or exceeding all key parameters. The Boeing tanker bested the Airbus offering in numerous other areas as well.

Boeing is also questioning numerous changes to bid requirements and evaluation criteria that resulted in a decision that cheats U.S. taxpayers, rewards a foreign company and would require the U.S. military to operate with one eye on a dubious foreign supply chain.

IAM members should contact their legislators immediately and ask them to support a full investigation of the circumstances that led to this outrageous decision.

Go to (http://capwiz.com/iamaw/issues/alert/?alertid=11106876) for additional information and instructions about how to send a message to lawmakers.

To view Boeing's ad go to (http://www.boeing.com/ids/globaltanker/general/decision.html )



Boeing Machinists Rally Over Tanker Scandal

March 24, 2008 - With more than 40,000 U.S. jobs on the line, hundreds of Boeing workers and their supporters crowded inside the Machinists Hall in Everett, WA last week to protest the Air Force’s recent decision to award a $40 billion aerial refueling tanker contract to the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS)

Efforts to overturn the controversial decision and award the contract to U.S. firm Boeing have been ramped up, with a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of the tanker contract already underway.

IAM members and other Boeing workers were joined by supporters and a host of local lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Governor Chris Gregoire (D-WA).

“I couldn’t believe, and still can’t believe, that our own federal government decided to ship thousands of jobs overseas,” said Gregoire. “I stand ready to help in any way I can to bring these jobs home to Washington where they belong.”

“We have got to wake people up across this country to the fact that this was an unfair competition from the very beginning,” said Murray.

Boeing’s KC-767 tanker would be built with over 85 percent domestic U.S. content and would support more than 44,000 U.S. jobs and 300 contractors in over forty states. The tanker competition was mandated in 2003, allowing a heavily subsidized European manufacturer, EADS, to bid against Boeing, a U.S. firm that received no subsidies.

The IAM represents nearly 35,000 Boeing employees in Washington state, Oregon, Kansas and locations across the country.

Go to (http://capwiz.com/iamaw/issues/alert/?alertid=11106876) to send a message to your representatives in Congress, urging them to overturn this decision.


Video: Defending America

March 17, 2008 - About a week ago, the United States Air Force awarded a $35 billion dollar defense contract to a European aircraft manufacturer called Airbus.  The Machinists and their allies didn't take this news lightly.

Watch the video here.


Airbus Distorts Tanker Job Numbers

March 14, 2008 - Less than a week after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) launched a review of the controversial $40 billion tanker contract, comes news that Airbus is grossly exaggerating the number of U.S. jobs that would be created.

As part of a full-court public relations blitz, the Toulouse-based plane maker and European parent company EADS are claiming their tanker, based on the Airbus A330, will create 48,000 jobs in the U.S., nearly double their original estimate.

In a letter to the editor at the Sacramento Bee, Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson ripped into Airbus for a history of false claims and distortions. “Earlier in the decade, Airbus claimed that it had created 100,000 jobs in the U.S., but a study by the U.S. Under Secretary for Trade, Grant Aldonas, could only find 500,” wrote Pearson in response to an article that cited the bogus Airbus numbers. “Last year, Airbus made the claim that U.S. companies would build half of the A380, yet at the same time the French press reported that production from all of North America would only amount to 21 percent.”

Even the British, who will be making the wings for the Airbus tanker, have experienced Airbus parent EADS’ outrageous distortions. In 2006, a British government agency banned as untruthful an ad that claimed,

“I am British” in reference to the A330 tanker.“Given this history of gross distortions, it strains credibility to believe even the original EADS/Northrop Grumman job creation numbers and claims of 60 percent domestic content, could be true,” said Pearson. “To believe that the EADS/Northrop Grumman European Airbus tanker will create 48,000 American jobs is a fairy tale akin to the notion that NAFTA is a source of good paying U.S. manufacturing jobs.”


GAO to Investigate $40 Billion Tanker Contract

March 12, 2008 - If the Air Force officials who awarded a $40 billion contract to Airbus and EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.) were betting the outrage over the deal would die out quickly, they gambled wrong. A formal protest filed today by the Boeing Co. will be considered by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to determine if the multi-billion contract was properly awarded.

From Seattle, WA and Wichita, KS to Washington, D.C., elected officials are going ballistic over the Air Force’s decision to outsource an entire fleet of U.S. military aircraft to a consortium that is heavily subsidized by European governments. “This is one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen,” said Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), who echoed the sentiments of many lawmakers in the House and Senate who were stunned by the decision to bypass Boeing, a U.S. company that has been supplying the Air Force with refueling tankers for nearly 50 years.

The controversy gained fresh legs when Air Force officials admitted the impact on American jobs was not one of their criteria for awarding the contract, which could eventually be worth as much as $100 billion. Boeing officials also claim the Air Force changed its criteria after the bidding was underway, further favoring Airbus.

Leading the charge to give Airbus a leg up on the historic contract was none other than presidential aspirant John McCain (R-AZ), who prodded the Pentagon in 2006 to develop bidding procedures that did not exclude Airbus.

“Awarding this contract to Boeing would support at least 44,000 U.S. jobs in 40 states,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Instead, billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars will be used to create jobs in Toulouse, France, and give European countries the potential to influence U.S. foreign policy to an unprecedented degree.”

Go to (http://www.goiam.org/publications/imail/PDFS/03_06_2008_TankerLetter.pdf) to view a letter sent by IP Buffenbarger to members of Congress.

Go to (http://capwiz.com/iamaw/issues/alert/?alertid=11106876&type=CO) to send a message to your representatives, urging them to overturn this decision.

Go to (http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/3/11/123813/283) to read article on John McCain.



Machinists Union Blasts Tanker Decision

March 5, 2008 - Machinists across the country are calling for congressional action following the decision by Air Force officials to award a $40 billion aerial refueling tanker contract to a team led by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS), parent company of Airbus.

“The Air Force's decision is a serious blow to a key American industry,” said IAM GVP Rich Michalski. “President Bush and his administration have denied real economic stimulus to the American people and chosen instead to create jobs in Toulouse, France.”

The tanker competition was mandated in 2003, allowing a heavily subsidized European manufacturer, EADS, to bid against Boeing, a U.S. firm that received no subsidies.

“This decision means billions of taxpayer dollars will be used to create jobs in foreign countries, rather than here in the United States,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Giving this contract to EADS further hollows out America’s industrial base and rewards a company that has already used $100 million in European government subsidies to grab nearly 50 percent of the U.S. commercial aircraft market.”

The IAM represents nearly 35,000 Boeing employees in Washington state, Oregon, Kansas and locations across the country.


District 751 and SPEEA Speak Out for Boeing Tanker

January 22, 2008 - IAM District 751 President and Directing Business Representative Tom Wroblewski and Cynthia Cole, president of Local 2001 of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA)/International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE), wrote a joint letter to The Seattle Times to call attention to the tremendous stakes involved in the Air Force’s decision on who will build the replacement for its aging fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling tankers. The Air Force will soon choose either Boeing’s KC-767 Advanced Tanker or the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company’s (EADS) Airbus A-330.

Choosing the American version could support more than 44,000 jobs with 300 contractors in forty states. “First and foremost, it just makes sense for the U.S. Air Force to use an American plane,” stresses Wroblewski and Cole. “The idea of outsourcing a $40 billion U.S. military aircraft program to the [EADS]… makes neither national-security nor economic sense. Why hand over some of our most valuable technology to Europe when we should be protecting it and our industrial base here at home?”

And who better to speak on the value of experience than the folks who’ve been designing and building tankers for years; namely IAM and SPEEA members? “Generations of Boeing engineers, technicians and machinists have worked on military programs,” continues Wroblewski and Cole. “That's in stark contrast to Airbus, which has never built or flown a tanker.”

If the Air Force chooses the Boeing KC-767, an estimated 9,000 jobs will be created in the Washington state alone.

Go here to read the full letter.