Machinists Welcome Tanker Decision

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today hailed the Department of Defense’s decision to award the Boeing Company with a contract to build a new fleet of air-to-air refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force.

“The Pentagon’s decision will result in an American aircraft, built by American workers for America’s warriors,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “With more than 40,000 U.S. jobs at stake, this decision also significantly strengthens the core of the U.S. aerospace manufacturing industry.”

Supported by a nationwide coalition of union members, businesses and communities, the IAM has been fully engaged in the decade-long effort to secure a U.S.-built replacement for the Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 tankers.

“The importance of this decision cannot be overstated,” said Buffenbarger. “Our legacy as providers of the best-built military aircraft in the world was on the line, challenged by a foreign competitor who hoped to establish a high-tech beachhead in this country that could have permanently altered our ability to provide for our own defense.”

The IAM represents more than 35,000 Boeing workers and is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America, with nearly 700,000 active and retired members in dozens of industries.