Machinists Applaud Air Tanker Decision


Lake Buena Vista, FL, September 10, 2008 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today welcomed the Pentagon decision to hold new bidding for the contract to build aerial refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force.

“This decision is a major victory for U.S. taxpayers, the U.S. aerospace industry and U.S. workers, who were all shortchanged in the earlier competition that awarded the contract to EADS-Airbus,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger.

Machinist union members across the country campaigned hard for a review of the initial decision to outsource the contract to a consortium led by EADS, the European planemaker. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the decision and agreed with the IAM and other critics, finding serious flaws in the initial award.

The decision will now be delayed until a new competition can be held, assuring that one of the most controversial defense contracts in years will fall to the next administration.

“More than 40,000 U.S. workers in dozens of states have a huge stake in this decision,” said Buffenbarger. “We need a fair competition that is not unduly influenced by lobbyists or politicians who are under the influence of lobbyists. The American people and the U.S. armed forces deserve no less.”

The IAM is among the nation’s largest industrial trade unions, representing over 700,000 active and retired members in airline, aerospace, manufacturing, railroad, woodworking and shipbuilding industries. For more information, go to