Machinists Welcome GAO Tanker Report

Washington, D.C., June 18, 2008 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today welcomed the report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) that cited serious flaws in the refueling tanker competition that led to a French-built Airbus being chosen over a U.S-manufactured Boeing 767.



“This is a major victory for America,” said IAM General Vice President Rich Michalski.  “In addition to multi-million dollar accounting errors and foreign government subsidies, the Air Force made changes midway in the competition that further favored the Airbus proposal. The GAO report should be the foundation for reversing this outrageous award without delay.”


The contract that could eventually be worth as much as $100 billion and support widespread job creation also became a white hot national issue the minute the Air Force revealed it did not consider the employment consequences of awarding a contract to a company based in Toulouse, France. 


“Awarding this contract to Boeing would preserve a key a manufacturing sector and provide real economic stimulus for Boeing workers, vendors and communities in at least 30 U.S. states,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger.


The IAM led a grassroots effort to overturn the tanker award, with members in all 50 states contacting lawmakers and urging an investigation of the competition that resulted in an unproven EADS-Airbus design being chosen over one based on Boeing’s 767, a model with more than 10 million hours of commercial flying time.


“We are confident the Boeing aircraft met every criteria established by the Air Force and will give our military a superior aircraft that will serve for decades,” said Michalski, who urged the Air Force to award the refueling contract to Boeing without delay.


The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) represents nearly 35,000 Boeing employees in Kansas , Washington state and other locations across the country. For more information, visit