The rampant increase in outsourcing and the explosive growth of the vendor supply chain in the aerospace industry were key issues for more than 50 delegates at the 2011 meeting of the International Metalworkers Federation (IMF).
The 2011 IMF Conference is in conjunction with the annual air show, which is held alternately in Farnborough, England and Paris, France. Every major aerospace company has a presence at the show, where new planes and products are debuted for potential military and commercial customers.
This year, more than 1,000 aircraft orders were taken in the first two days of the show, which is expected to draw more than 140,000 visitors from 120 countries.
“In addition to aircraft sales, the show has become a global marketplace for aerospace jobs, with countries and states competing aggressively to attract aerospace manufacturing facilities,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger, who serves as President of the IMF Aerospace Department. “In addition to tax subsidies and low costs, many locations in the U.S. are now boasting of low unionization rates among the reasons to consider relocation.”
Among the countries at the show promoting establishment or relocation of existing facilities to take advantage of low costs are Mexico, Turkey, Russia, India, Singapore and of course, China. Also pitching themselves as potential destinations for aerospace companies were Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama and South Carolina.
Delegates at the IMF Conference agreed that it is imperative to maintain and increase labor’s presence at industry events like the annual air show.
“Corporations will define us if we fail to define ourselves,” said District 751 President Tom Wroblewski. “To do that, we must be a force to be reckoned with whenever and wherever the discussion is taking place.”