Aerospace Conference Focuses on Flawed Trade Deals

IAM Headquarters General Vice President Rich Michalski addresses the 2011 Aerospace Conference in Nashville, TN.


IAM leaders and activists from the United States and Canada representing tens of thousands members from Boeing, Bombardier, Lockheed Martin, GKN, Spirit, Raytheon, Pratt & Whitney, Triumph, General Electric and others are meeting in Nashville, TN, this week for the 2011 IAM Aerospace Conference.

“We are here to examine the problems and opportunities in today’s aerospace industry, one of the last great manufacturing enterprises in America,” said Headquarters Vice President and Conference Chairman Rich Michalski, who urged delegates to hold elected officials accountable on issues affecting the industry and our members. “Too often there has been dead silence from people in Congress who were supposed to be our friends.”

International President Tom Buffenbarger delivered a wide-ranging keynote address but focused on the importance of the upcoming votes on the Colombia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements.

“These so-called free trade agreements are neither free nor fair,” said Buffenbarger, who warned that the South Korea Free Trade Agreement was particularly odious for the aerospace industry. “This agreement may allow a few more U.S. autos to be sold in Korea, but it represents a real threat down the road for aerospace and high-tech jobs. We cannot allow the surrender of American sovereignty over our means and methods of production.”

Also addressing delegates on the first day of the conference was Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez, District 711 DBR Ricky Wallace, Executive Director of the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace Robert Donald, IAM National Pension Fund Director Steve Sleigh, IAM Organizing Director George Myers and The Reporter Ted Reed.

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