Machinists Warn Jobs at Risk in Water Quality Debate


June 16, 2014, Olympia, WA – The International Association of Machinists and AerospaceWorkers (IAM) is calling on Washington state Governor Jay Inslee to update the state’s water quality standards in a way that protects the health of residents without imposing extreme measures that would threaten thousands of current and potential jobs.

Washington state recently convened a task force to consider changes to the criteria for the state’s water quality standards. Among the changes under consideration is a dramatic increase in the state’s official fish consumption rate, an obscure number that drives Washington’s official water quality standards.

While Gov. Inslee has said that he believes a balancedsolution is possible, he is also considering increasing the state’s current fish consumption rate from 6.5 grams per day to as much as 225 grams per day – an extreme increase by any measure.

“Such a change would significantly impact the state’s ability to attract new business and new jobs,” said IAM Aerospace Coordinator Mark Johnson. “Sudden and dramatic changes to the state’s water quality standards would also restrict or freeze expansion plans by existing businesses, including Boeing.”

Boeing is in the midst of constructing new facilities in Puget Sound for composite wing fabrication and final assembly of the Boeing777X. Boeing is also expanding the 737 facility in Renton, WA to accommodate the growing demand for the world’s most popular aircraft. Both facilities could be impacted by changes to water control standards.

“This issue must not be reduced to a one-dimensional dispute between advocates for economic growth versus environmental quality,” said Johnson. “This is our home and we expect both concerns to be addressed by our elected officials without favoring extreme positions on either side.”

The IAM represents more than 32,000 workers in the Puget Sound area among more than 600,000 active and retired members across North America. Visit for more information.

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