|IAM Alabama Local 2003 members and L-3 Army Fleet Support workers Truclan Lewis, left, and John Turner fasten a helicopter blade at Fort Rucker.|
The IAM is launching an initiative aimed at highlighting the contributions of the highly-skilled, front-line production workers behind Alabama’s recent aerospace explosion.
Alabama, like much of the southern U.S., touts a business-first climate that includes lavish tax breaks and incentives for both large domestic corporations and foreign multi-nationals.
Alabama Aero aims to provide a voice for the other major player in this game – the workers.
“With so much focus right now on making sure the Airbuses and Commercial Jets of the world have what they need, it’s imperative to ensure that the workers who are building the actual products that are going to help these companies make history don’t get lost in the shuffle,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “It’s incumbent upon us as the largest aerospace union in the U.S. to do our part to shine a light on these highly-skilled workers.”
Alabama’s penchant for corporate welfare has received worldwide attention thanks to Airbus’ decision to open their first U.S. final assembly line in Mobile later this summer. The European aerospace giant received nearly $160 million in tax breaks and incentives from state and local governments to do so.
Receiving less attention has been Alabama’s other big draw: their skilled workforce. The IAM currently represents thousands of Alabama aerospace workers throughout the state at highly-successful operations such as United Launch Alliance, L-3 and Boeing.
“We believe the blueprint for aerospace success in Alabama has already been written,” said Buffenbarger. “Our members in Alabama have provided their employers with the skills and know-how to ensure both themselves and the companies they work for thrive.”