Machinists nominate local leadership candidates

By Dan Catchpole

Members of the Machinists union in metro Puget Sound nominated candidates Tuesday night to take over the top spot at District Lodge 751, which represents about 32,000 members — mostly Boeing employees — in Washington and Oregon.

The district is part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

Four candidates were nominated: Jon Holden, John Lopez Jr., Roy Wilkinson and Wilson Ferguson. Members will vote March 6.

Wilkinson works in the IAM/Boeing Joint Programs. Lopez and Ferguson are shopfloor workers.

Holden was an elected business representative working out of the union’s Everett office, but he resigned his position Tuesday after being nominated in order to run for office. He will return to his position at Boeing as a parts and tooling expediter, District 751 spokesman Bryan Corliss said.

Ferguson, a longtime rank-and-file leader, has previously said he won’t run for the office.

Tuesday night, he said in a post on Facebook that he was “honored and humbled” but that he is declining the nomination.

He is publicly backing Holden, who, he said, has much-needed experience with contract negotiations and grievances.

District Lodge 751’s last district president, Tom Wroblewski, retired at the end of January. His resignation came as a surprise when he announced it earlier that month and after a contentious Jan. 3 contract vote.

Wroblewski cited health problems in explaining his decision to leave office. He took over as the district president and directing business representative in March 2007 after his predecessor, Mark Blondin, was tapped by IAM headquarters in Upper Marlboro, Md., as an aerospace coordinator. Wroblewski was re-elected in 2008 and again in 2012.

He left with the district deeply divided over a new contract with Boeing, which was narrowly approved over Wroblewski’s opposition.

Whoever is elected will finish Wroblewski’s term, which runs through 2016.

The March 6 election is open to all current and retired members in good standing. Voting will take place in person at the district’s various union halls.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.